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29/07/2021

Sentencing of man convicted of rape adjourned as complainant does not want to travel during lockdown

Sentencing of man convicted of rape adjourned as complainant does not want to travel during lockdown

The sentencing of a man convicted of raping his best friend's sister as she slept has been adjourned because of concerns around travel during the lockdown.

The man, now aged 25, was convicted last September after a trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork. He had pleaded not guilty to the single charge of rape at a place in Co Kerry on June 10, 2018.

A sentence hearing was due to take place on Wednesday before Justice Mary Rose Gearty sitting in the CCJ court house in Dublin.

Vincent Heneghan SC, prosecuting, told Justice Gearty that the complainant, who is aged around 20, wants to attend at the hearing but is uncomfortable travelling during the Covid 19 pandemic and the associated lockdown.

He asked the court to adjourn sentencing. Michael Bowman SC, defending, said that his client was taking no issue with this and consented to the adjournment.

Separately Mr Bowman told the court that his client, who is in custody in the Midlands Prison, has been transported by the prison service to the CCJ building on three occasions in recent weeks and for no reason.

He said that there was no order to produce his client in court on these occasions and he didn't know why it was happening. He said such movements put his client at unnecessary health risks and also brings a risk that he will be placed into quarantine when he is returned to prison.

The court heard that the prison service were aware of the issue and were looking into it.

Justice Gearty said that if it continues to happen she would take an active step. She adjourned the case to March 25 next for sentence.

During the trial the complainant said the defendant had been like a brother but that on that night he raped her. He told gardaí that he did not have sexual intercourse with her at all but he did perform consensual oral sex on her after consensual sexual contact.

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