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BBC man accused of rape walks free from court after he's found not guilty

By George Jackson

Published 18/11/2016

Sean O’Halloran was cleared of all charges at Londonderry Crown Courtwant
Sean O’Halloran was cleared of all charges at Londonderry Crown Courtwant

A Donegal-born BBC journalist accused of rape was yesterday unanimously cleared by a jury.

Sean O'Halloran was charged with raping and sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman in the bedroom of her Creggan Street home in Londonderry in 2014.

The 30-year-old, from Northland Road in the city, admitted engaging in sexual activity with the woman as her boyfriend slept downstairs.

But O'Halloran, a broadcast journalist with Radio Foyle, told the jury that the complainant consented to the encounter.

Following a four-day trial, the jury, which was made up of seven men and five women, returned their unanimous not guilty verdicts after just 45 minutes of deliberations.

The woman alleged that Mr O'Halloran committed the offences after they and up to a dozen friends - one of them the complainant's boyfriend - returned to the house following a night out drinking in several city centre bars.

Most of the people who went out for the night then consumed more alcohol in the complainant's house.

The woman told the jury that she later became tired and went upstairs to bed and got in with her clothes on.

She woke up when someone who she thought was her boyfriend got into the bed and put his arm around her.

When the man, who was naked at the time, pulled her towards him, she claimed she noticed then that it was not her boyfriend, but the defendant.

She alleged that Mr O'Halloran ripped off her blouse and bra, pulled down her jeans and underwear and then sexually assaulted her.

However, the defendant told the jury that after most of the other people at the house party had either gone home or fallen asleep, the complainant took him by the hand and led him upstairs to her bedroom, where the sexual activity took place.

He also insisted that she consented at all times.

Members of Mr O'Halloran's family embraced him as he left the dock at Londonderry Crown Court after Judge Gordon Kerr QC told him that he was free to go.

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