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BBC Northern Ireland journalist found not guilty of rape

By George Jackson

Published 17/11/2016

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

A BBC journalist walked free from the Crown Court in Derry after a jury found him unanimously not guilty of raping and sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman on May 22, 2014.

Sean O’Halloran, (30), from Northland Road in Derry, who is a broadcast journalist with BBC Radio Foyle, admitted engaging in sexual activity with the complainant in her bedroom as her boyfriend was asleep downstairs but he told the jury that at all times the complainant had consented.

Following the four day trial the jury of seven men and five women returned their three unanimous not guilty verdicts after just forty-five minutes of deliberations.

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

Most of the people then consumed more alcohol in the complainant’s house.

The complainant told the jury that when she became tired she went upstairs to bed and that she was so tired that she got into her bed fully clothed. She woke up when a man, whom she thought was her boyfriend, got into the bed and put his arm around her. When the man, who was naked, pulled her towards him she said it was not her boyfriend but the defendant.

She alleged that the defendant ripped off her blouse and bra, pulled down her jeans and underwear and sexually assaulted her.

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 lead him upstairs to her bedroom where the sexual activity, to which he said she had consented, took place.

Members of Mr. O’Halloran’s family embraced him as he left the dock after Judge Gordon Kerr Q.C. told him he was free to go.

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