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BBC journalist on trial in Derry charged with raping woman

By George Jackson

Published 14/11/2016

Court: Sean O’Halloran
Court: Sean O’Halloran

A BBC journalist has gone on trial at the Crown Court in Derry charged with raping, indecently touching and digitally penetrating a twenty-six-year-old woman in the bedroom of her home at Creggan Street in the early hours of May 11, 2014.

Sean O'Halloran, 30, from Northland Road in Derry, is a news reporter for BBC Radio Foyle.

He denies the offences and the jury of seven men and five women were told by a prosecution barrister that the primary issue in the case was one of consent.

Opening the case to the jury, prosecutor Frank O'Donoghue Q.C. said when people at the house party in the complainant's home challenged the defendant about the allegations she had made against him minutes after the incidents allegedly occurred, the defendant said "I will prosecute her for accusing me of doing this. What is she talking about? I did nothing".

In her recorded interview with a detective constable in the PSNI's Rape Crime Unit the complainant said she and her boyfriend had been out drinking the night before the alleged incidents.

They were with a group of friends, one of them the defendant, and several members of the group came back to her home.

The complainant said in the early hours of the morning, after several of her friends had gone home and when her boyfriend and one of the remaining guests were watching television, she became tired and decided to go to bed.

She said she was so tired that she got into bed fully clothed. She was later woken up by someone whom she thought was her boyfriend getting into bed behind her and putting his arm around her.

The person pulled her around and when she opened her eyes the complainant said it was the defendant and not her boyfriend in bed with her. She said the defendant ripped off her upper clothing, touched her breasts and pulled down her trousers and underwear.

She said the defendant then pulled her legs apart and digitally penetrated her before raping her. She said the defendant was completely naked at the time.

The complainant said she tried to close her legs and as she did so she pushed the defendant, who was bent over her, away. She said she screamed at him to stop before getting out of the bed, putting on a dressing gown and going downstairs where she told her boyfriend about what had allegedly happened.

The complainant also said in her recorded interview, which was played to the jury, that on a previous occasion in another friend's house the defendant had attempted to kiss her, grabbed her by the leg and invited her home with him.

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