Belfast Telegraph

Man jailed for role in rape of woman in Co Armagh fails in bid to overturn convictions

By Alan Erwin

A man jailed for his role in the rape of a woman in Co Armagh has failed in a bid to overturn his convictions.

Stasys Baranauskas was appealing verdicts that he took part in the sexual assault and inflicted life-changing injuries on another man during the attack in July 2011.

But senior judges ruled that the 31-year-old's grounds of challenge lacked any merit.

Last year Baranauskas, a Lituanian national, was found guilty by a jury on eight counts, including aiding and abetting rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment.

He was also convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent over the incident at a house in Lurgan, and was handed a 15-year jail term.

At the time police described the crimes as "truly horrendous and traumatic for the victims".

The 23-year-old man was allegedly beaten unconscious with a bat, sustaining a fractured skull and shattered cheek bones.

He was reportedly left with significant long-term injuries, which left him having to learn to walk again.

A second Lithuanian national, 27-year-old Darius Porcikas, received an 18-year prison sentence for the rape and assaults.

Baranauskas stood trial after he was extradited back to Northern Ireland from his native country.

Challenging the safety of his conviction in the Court of Appeal, defence lawyers argued there were inconsistencies in the woman's testimony.

On that basis they questioned whether the trial judge should have warned the jury about her evidence.

Further points were raised about identification evidence and the admission of previous convictions.

However, Mr Justice Horner, sitting with Lord Justices Stephens and Treacy, expressed "enormous difficulty" in understanding the basis on which the guilty verdict was being appealed.

Jurors heard all the evidence against Baranauskas and were expertly guided by the trial judge, he said.

Refusing leave to appeal the convictions, Mr Justice Horner held: "The jury convicted Stasys Baranauskas on all but one of the counts.

"The various grounds of appeal advanced in this case are all without merit."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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