Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Co Down quantity surveyor jailed for raping teen at house party loses appeal

A quantity surveyor jailed for raping a teenager at a house party failed today in a bid to clear his name.

John Paul Brannigan's appeal against conviction was dismissed after judges in the Court of Appeal declared the guilty verdict safe.

Brannigan, 28, of Moneyscalp Road, Kilcoo, had been given a seven year sentence for the attack in August 2009.

At his trial before Downpatrick Crown Court last year the 19-year-old victim told how she had gone to a bar and then onto a party in Newcastle, Co Down.

She had "blacked out" in one of the bedrooms before waking to find someone having sex with her.

The woman described how she at first couldn't move, but then started screaming and becoming hysterical.

At that stage others in the house entered the bedroom.

Brannigan claimed she had instigated the sexual contact and consented at all times.

His appeal centred on a contention that the trial judge wrongly failed to stay proceedings as an abuse of process.

But Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justices Girvan and Coghlin, rejected claims that a decision on a prosecution witness was made in bad faith.

Sir Declan said: "We reject the submission that there was any conduct by the police or prosecuting authorities which rendered it unfair to try the appellant or which caused any unfairness in the trial of the appellant."

Brannigan is now expected to mount a further challenge to the sentence imposed on him.

His seven-year term was split between half in jail and half on licence.

He was also ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and barred from working with children.

An appeal against that sentence has been listed for next month.

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