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sick crime Rapist who sparked fury after getting 'glowing' testimonials in court appeals conviction

Conor Quaid is now appealing the conviction on the grounds that Ms Justice Gearty erred in failing to define recklessness in her charge to the jury

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Conor Quaid

Conor Quaid

Conor Quaid

A man who had “drink taken” was convicted of raping a family friend as she slept in her bed after the jury was misinformed about the issue of recklessness by the trial judge, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.  

Conor Quaid (27), of Monaree, Dingle, Co Kerry, had pleaded not guilty to rape at a place in the county on June 10, 2018.

A jury found him guilty, however, by a majority verdict of 10 to one following a seven-day trial at the Central Criminal Court in Cork in September 2020.

He was later sentenced to six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment by Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty.

Quaid is now appealing the conviction on the grounds that Ms Justice Gearty erred in failing to define recklessness in her charge to the jury.

It was further submitted that the judge had erred by placing the jury under “undue pressure” to reach a verdict rather than allowing them to disagree.

During the trial, the jury was told that on the night of the attack Quaid had been drinking before visiting the woman at her home.

The woman said she hadn’t been drinking that night and had gone to bed early.

She later told gardaí that she woke up to find someone raping her.

She said she “froze” at first but quickly told Quaid to stop what he was doing and to get out of her room as soon as she realised what was happening.

At the Court of Appeal yesterday, Michael Bowman SC, for Quaid, said “alcohol had been a feature in this case”.

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“The capacity to find islands of fact to anchor anyone’s recollection was paltry to say the least,” he said.

But there was “no evidence to suggest” that his client was “utterly obliterated with alcohol”, Mr Bowman added.

The jury, counsel continued, were told by the judge “in black and white terms that drunkenness equates with recklessness”.

“The direction given to the jury was wrong and therefore an issue relating to the conviction presents itself,” Mr Bowman said.

In response, Vincent Heneghan SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that "the only way recklessness could come into it is if they (the jury) equates his [Quaid's] actions with someone who was drunk at the time," adding that Quaid had told gardai he “had drink taken” on the night in question.

Mr Heneghan described the judge’s charge as “extremely practical and pragmatic” and had explained matters to the jury “in a way they could understand”.

“The jury could have been under no confusion as to what the issues in this case were,” he said.

Judgement has been reserved.

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