Belfast Telegraph

Belfast boy denies park rape claims were lies

By Ashleigh McDonald

A teenager who said he was dragged into bushes then raped in a west Belfast park by a "complete stranger" has denied that he was telling lies.

The complainant - who was 16 at the time of the alleged sex attack and is now 18 - rejected a suggestion that he lied to police about the incident, and was lying again to the jury.

Gerard Scannell is currently standing trial at Belfast Crown Court, accused of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old in the early hours of July 16, 2016.

Scannell, who is originally from Ballymurphy Road and who is now living at an undisclosed address in another area of Belfast, has also been charged with three counts of rape.

The complainant was walking alone in the early hours after socialising with friends and said he first became aware of a man with "evil eyes" standing at Norglen Parade.

He said this man asked his name, then followed him on to Ardmonagh Gardens.

The complainant then walked through a metal gate and on to a pathway in the park, where he said he was grabbed from behind, trailed into bushes by the back of his t-shirt and forced to perform sex acts, as well as being raped.

As he was being cross-examined by defence barrister Charles MacCreanor QC, who is representing Scannell, the complainant was asked why he decided to walk along the pitch black pathway at Falls Park when he was aware of a man with evil eyes following him.

The 18-year old said his route through the park was only a few minutes long and he just "wanted to get home".

When asked by Mr MacCreanor if he was then subjected to a "terrifying and brutal experience", he said "yeah."

The barrister then told the young man: "Your story is a lie. You are lying.

"You have lied to the police and you are lying to the ladies and gentlemen in the jury today."

The complainant replied to the barrister: "No I haven't."

When Mr MacCreanor told the complainant: "The sexual acts that you have described, these acts did not happen as you have described them," the young man said: "Yes, they did."

And when Mr MacCreanor suggested that his client Scannell did not subject the complainant to a "brutal, forced rape", the young man asked: "Are you calling me a liar?"

Scannell has denied having any knowledge of or contact with the teenager, and has denied all four charges levelled against him.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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