RCNI Press Release 07 March 2008
Gap in law fails child rape victim and shames us all
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) expressed its concern that the Donegal man, guilty of statutory rape, walked free on Thursday from the Central Criminal Court under Justice Patrick McCarthy when he was found not guilty of raping the teenager. This is what ‘justice’ looks like in the absence of strict liability in statutory rape cases.
Fiona Neary, RCNI Director, said ‘this man admitted to sex with a young teenager. He is guilty of statutory rape yet because of the gap in our law he walked free. He walked free largely because he claimed he did not know her age. This girl was 14 years old. He did not have to prove that taking this 14 year old for an adult was a reasonable assumption or one based on any reasonable grounds. He simply had to state he did not know her age.
During the trial he denied her claims that he falsely imprisoned, threatened to kill her and raped her repeatedly in the back of his car on August 25, 2004. This teenager was cross examined in our criminal court and made out to be a liar on almost all counts. On one she was vindicated – this man had sex with a child. He is guilty of statutory rape. But on Thursday he was found not guilty and the child rape victim walked away having been smeared and abused in our court rooms.
Had our government had the courage to hold a referendum on this had the Irish people been given a chance to have there say perhaps none of this would have been necessary and perhaps, just perhaps that man would have hesitated before carrying out the acts he committed on the 25th of August 2004. Shame on all of us.’
• The RCNI is the national Rape Crisis Sector body, which provides a strong voice for survivors and is a catalyst for social change to end rape and all forms of sexual violence.
For information contact:
Cliona Saidlear: 087 2196447