Belfast Telegraph

Newry man facing jail for making false gay rape claim

By Michael Donnelly

A 24-year-old Co Down man who claimed he was the victim of a gay rape, will discover in the New Year if he is to be jailed for his false cry of sex abuse.

In one of the first cases of its kind here, Newry man Gary Kearns admitted perverting the course of justice, by making what Judge Paul Ramsey QC described as "repellent allegations", against a "completely and totally innocent" victim.

Earlier, the Newry Crown Court judge said the allegations were "completely without foundation" and were now "publicly recognised" as such.

Adjourning sentencing, Judge Ramsey said, while the custody threshold had been passed, the issue for him was whether there were exceptional circumstances which would allow the court to suspend a jail sentence.

Prosecution lawyer Stephen McCourt said that in October 2014, Kearns, from Barcroft Park, went to police claiming he was the victim of a gay rape the previous month, and named his alleged attacker.

Over the coming months, Kearns not only broadcast the news locally, but maintained when asked by police that "the allegation was true and he wanted to proceed with the complaint".

Mr McCourt said that when the alleged attacker was interviewed by police, he denied Kearns' claims and directed officers to a number of possible witnesses. Mr McCourt then revealed when police went to update Kearns, he told them he did not want to proceed.

Kearns later went to police telling them that "he had lied about the allegation of rape". Mr McCourt said 'thankfully' matters had not reached the stage of court proceedings for Kearns' victim, described by his mother and family as "vulnerable and naive".

But Mr McCourt said that despite this, the victim continues to suffer from extreme depression and anxiety and "the issues continue to blight the victim as he tries to go about his everyday life".

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon, revealed that psychiatric and other reports, indicated that a remorseful Kearns "could make himself believe it happened ... persuaded himself that certain things happened when they did not .... an element of make-believe in his own mind".

However, the lawyer said he was instructed by Kearns not to contest "anything that has been said", and pointed out it had been Kearns himself who had gone to police to confess his guilt.

Mr Lannon claimed that Kearns "freaked out and wanted matters sorted", when he learned the injured party was to be taken to court. He added, that Kearns "did not want it to go this far", and claimed Kearns had no comprehension of the consequences of making his allegations.

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