13 Aug 2022

Man who raped his partner's 'semi-comatose' teenage niece jailed

Man who raped his partner's 'semi-comatose' teenage niece jailed

A Cork man who raped his partner's “semi-comatose” teenage niece when she was sleeping over at their home after a night out has been jailed for seven years.

The 27-year-old man, who can not be named to protect the victim's identity, was convicted of raping the 17-year-old girl at his Co Cork home on August 27, 2017 by a jury following a trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork last year. He has no previous convictions.

Mr Justice Alex Owens noted that during the trial the accused man had given evidence that the young woman had been a “willing participant” but that the reality was different.

He said she had been drinking and was in a comatose condition on the bed when the accused man had pulled down her jeans and raped her, before telling her not to tell anyone.

Mr Justice Owens said it had been a “gross breech of trust” and he had known full well she was in no condition to resist. He noted the accused man had then tried to “cover his tracks” and was fully aware he had taken advantage of a “semi comatose girl.”

He noted that in the probation report the man said the girl had not been intoxicated enough not to know what she was doing and on his account he was the victim of a seduction.

He noted the substantial harm caused to the victim and the seriously damaged relationships within her family. He noted in mitigation the man's previous good character and the testimonials handed into court.

Mr Justice Owens imposed a sentence of seven years imprisonment and ordered four years post release supervision.

In her victim impact statement, the now 21 year old woman, said the offence had left her feeling vulnerable, as well as “dirty and violated.” She said she had spent a long three years trying to heal only to have to come to court and tell her story again.

She said everyone around her has been effected by the offence and a hole has been left in her family after she had not been believed by her aunt, whom she had grown up admiring.

She said she now hopes to put the offence behind her and hopes that he will never be able to do this to anyone again.

Siobhan Lankford SC, defending, said the accused man is still in a relationship with the girl's aunt and his family is supportive of him.

She outlined he had a good work history but has lost his career as a consequence of his actions. She said he has not come to any garda attention while on bail.

Additional Evidence

A local garda told Thomas Creed SC, prosecuting, that the girl had been socialising with family members including her aunt and the accused that evening and had ended up sleeping in a bedroom in her aunts home.

During the night the accused man left his bedroom, went to where the girl was sleeping, kissed her and asked her if she will on the pill. He then raped her and went back to his own bedroom.

The following day the accused man drove her home and she pretended not to remember anything.

When she got home she told her mother she had woken up during the night to the accused man having sex with her. Garda were alerted and she was examined at a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit.

The accused man told gardaí that he and the girl had been kissing and she had not given verbal agreement but discussed if she was on the pill and “it happened.”

The investigation found the accused man had searched the internet about rape and 'what is rape' before gardai arrived at his home.

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