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Ireland Two men found guilty of rape of woman following Donegal 'student night'

21:15  06 november  2019
21:15  06 november  2019 Source:   thejournal.ie

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Central Criminal Court Central Criminal Court A JURY HAS found two Donegal residents guilty of raping a student who came back to their flat after a night out drinking.

Boakye Osei (29) of Twoban, Burnfoot and Kelvin Opoku (33) of Cill Graine, Letterkenny had pleaded not guilty to rape of the woman in a town in the county in February 2015.

After a five-week trial a jury of seven men and four women took just over two hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts. Justice Alex Owens ordered a Probation Service report for both men and certified them as sex offenders.

He also ordered a victim impact statement to be prepared for a sentence date on 13 January next. He remanded the two Ghanaian nationals in custody to that date.

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During the trial the woman, who is now aged in her 20s, testified that she had been out drinking with her friend in a local nightclub and she was drunk and finding it difficult to walk home.

She said the men were in a car and offered them a lift home. She said the men brought them back to a flat and offered them drink.

She told the jury she remembers lying on a bed and someone heavy on her and then something “inside her”. She said that the men swapped over and the second man raped her.

The woman said she was “blind drunk” and could not and did not consent to any sexual activity.

Her friend gave evidence that she was kissing and touching Osei while Opoku was having sex with the victim on the same bed. She said she told Osei she didn’t want to have sex and he went over to her friend and had sex with her.

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Osei denied any sexual activity between him and the complainant. When shown evidence that his semen was found on her underwear he replied “no comment”. His lawyers argued the semen traces could have come from cross-contamination.

Opoku told gardaí that he and the woman had sex which she consented to. He said he didn’t believe she was too drunk to consent.

Gardaí later showed him mobile phone footage taken by the victim’s friend in which the victim is staggering around the apartment and later falling on the bathroom floor, exposing her underwear, before the two men hold her up. Opoku said she wasn’t in that condition when they had sex.

He and the victim’s friend told gardaí that the victim was saying “harder” and moaning during the sex. Cross-examined on this the victim said she may have been dreaming and had a history of talking and moaning in her sleep.

“I was half way between sleep and drunkenness. I felt like I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know if it was a dream or it was actually happening. I was just so drunk,” she said. 

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‘Student night’

During the trial the complainant, who is now aged in her 20s, told Seamus Clarke SC, prosecuting, that she and a female friend had spent the night at a “student night” in a local pub and nightclub. 

She said she had drunk a number of vodka drinks, a cocktail and cider. She said they were given free “Jolly rancher” shots and used a drinks voucher won in a “pub quiz” to buy eight vodka and red bulls, some of which she remembers drinking. 

The woman said when she and her friend left the nightclub she was “very intoxicated”. 

a kitchen with a table in a room: The trial took place at the Central Criminal Court. © PA Images The trial took place at the Central Criminal Court. She said she and her friend were walking home when they came across two men sitting in a parked car. The woman said her friend spoke to the men and then told her, “We’re gonna get a lift home”. 

The complainant said they drove for about ten minutes before entering an apartment she didn’t know.

“I remember being quite drunk and staggering up the stairs, I couldn’t walk properly,” she told the jury. 

She said she and her friend were hungry and didn’t want to drink any more and wanted to get food. The men gave them a drink which she believed was vodka. 

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“I was very intoxicated. I was ready to pass out and fall over,” she told the jury. She said on a scale of one to ten of drunkenness, she was ten. 

Video footage, taken on a mobile phone by the complainant’s friend, shows the women in an apartment with two men. Later footage shows the woman falling on the bathroom floor, exposing her underwear, before two men hold her up. 

The complainant identified herself on the footage and told the court it showed both men carrying her to the bedroom. She said she remembers lying on a bed and someone heavy on her and then something inside her vagina. 

I was half way between sleep and drunkenness. I felt like I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know if it was a dream or it was actually happening. I was just so drunk. 

“In terms of consenting, I in no way did consent to having sex with these men or to them touching me or coming near me in any intimate way,” she said. 

Cross-examined over a statement to gardaí by her friend that the complainant was “definitely awake at least for the first half of the time” that she was “with a man”, the witness said: “I may have been awake but I was also blind drunk”. 

Asked about evidence that she was heard moaning and saying the word “harder”, she said she may have been dreaming and had a history of talking and moaning in her sleep. 

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She told the jury that she and her friend woke up in the apartment the next morning and began watching the mobile phone videos. She said that one of the men told her to delete the footage and was blocking the door out of the apartment. 

The woman said she lied and told the man she had deleted the footage and he then offered to drive them back to their flat in the town. 

The defence position was that any sexual activity that took place was consensual.

The complainant told Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, that she thought she did kiss somebody in the smoking area of the nightclub earlier that night. She said she told gardaí about it and she didn’t know his name. 

She said she generally wouldn’t kiss someone she didn’t know. 

“I would have a conversation with them first. I’m not the type of person who would kiss someone without speaking to them first,” she said. 

She agreed that if she hadn’t been drinking she would not have kissed him and that “drink has the effect that you do something you wouldn’t do when you were sober.” 

Asked if there was anything else she knew she would do when drunk that she might not do when sober, she said no. After a pause she added, “I probably wouldn’t order eight vodka and red bulls if I was sober.” 

She said she didn’t remember being asked for consent and would not have given it. 

“I did not say yes, get on top of me and have sex with me. I did not say anything close to that,” she said.

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Ana Kriegel: The murder that shook Ireland (BBC News)

Jurors asked to consider if accused men 'really cared' whether alleged rape victim said no .
The two men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.Eilis Brennan SC said that a lack of concern for the woman shown by the two defendants outside of the bedroom was “highly indicative” of a lack of concern inside the room.

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