Belfast Telegraph

Woman wins legal bid over the failure to try date rape accused

BY ALAN ERWIN

A Belfast woman who claims she was the victim of a date rape which left her pregnant has cleared the first stage in her legal challenge to a decision not to bring a prosecution.

She was granted leave to seek to judicially review the authorities for not reviewing a complaint against the man she accused of imprisoning and sexually attacking her.

A judge at the High Court ruled yesterday that an arguable case has been established.

Neither the woman nor the man she alleges raped her can be identified. Her challenge relates to a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decision last year not to pursue a case against the man.

A lack of independent evidence led to the conclusion that securing a conviction was unlikely, the court heard. Proceedings were initiated once the PPS confirmed in March that it would not be carrying out a review.

The woman's barrister, Dessie Hutton, said the view of prosecutors was not accepted. “To say there's no reasonable prospect of a conviction is tantamount to the PPS imposing a corroboration requirement in date rape cases for the purposes of satisfying the test for prosecution,” he argued.

He told the court his client knew the man and had slept with him twice before the night she claims to have been raped.

On both those prior occasions she made no complaints about what had been consensual sex.

Mr Hutton said on the night in question the woman had been out, met up with the man and went back to his house. “She wouldn't have been ill-disposed to having relations with him,” the barrister said.

“But (she says) he became sexually violent, forceful and she withheld her consent.

“Notwithstanding that, he (allegedly) forced her to perform various acts and he inflicted a number of rapes upon her and also physically assaulted her and for a period falsely imprisoned her.”

The incident was reported to her parents, police and GP, the court heard. Mr Hutton disclosed that the woman ultimately discovered she was pregnant as a result of the alleged rape. She wants the man to be prosecuted.

A barrister for the PPS said the decision reached in the case followed a consultation with the woman and her solicitor.

Advice was also received from independent counsel.

The court was also told while the PPS has to look for independent evidence, a further test of corroboration has not been adopted.

Mr Justice Treacy ruled the challenge can continue.

A full hearing will take place in December.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph