A teenager who “boasted” to friends after raping a 15-year-old girl at a house party has been jailed for three years.
The man, who is now aged 18, had pleaded not guilty to rape at a house in Co Wexford on July 24, 2014. After a trial at the Central Criminal Court last July a jury returned a majority verdict of guilty.
At his sentencing hearing today, Garda John Halley told Pauline Whalley SC, prosecuting, that the defendant and the complainant, who had a mutual friend, engaged in “banter” on social media, before making an arrangement to meet up.
The girl, who was a secondary school student, met the defendant, then aged 16, and took a lift with him and friends of his to a house party.
Garda Halley said the girl was given shots of vodka at the party and after some time was unable to stand up and felt very unwell.
“The defendant offered to bring her upstairs and help her to lie down,” he said.
The court heard that several people at the party then banged on the door and ordered the defendant to stop “what he was doing.”
Ms Walley said the girl, who was a virgin at the time, recalled lying on the bed and being unable to move. She then woke up face down on the mattress while the defendant was raping her, Ms Walley said.
The court heard the defendant came downstairs and “boasted” to friends, saying “I bagged her”.
In a victim impact statement the girl, now 17, said her life changed forever the day she was raped.
“I sat in the shower scrubbing myself until I was red and sore. I felt like my body wasn't mine anymore,” she said.
The girl said she had held a razor, a scissors and a knife to her throat with the intention of harming herself but stopped herself as she knew her actions would hurt her family.
She said that she received dirty looks from people who lived in her town and encountered people staring at her and whispering in her presence.
“To me, sex means being disrespected and being taken advantage of; part of me is missing and I don't know who I am anymore,” she said.
Patrick Gageby SC, defending, told the court that the defendant had no previous convictions and completed his Leaving Cert before taking a place in university.
He said that the defendant was at low risk of re-offending according to a report submitted from the probation services.
“Young men can be incredibly foolish and do wrong things,” Mr Gageby said.
Sentencing the man, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said the defendant must have been aware of the victim's inability to consent as she was “virtually comatose”.
“The fact that the girl hadn't had a sexual experience before she was raped makes it very difficult for her to deal with,” he said.
Mr Justice McDermott said he didn't regard the rape as something that was pre-planned. However, he said, it seemed the defendant was determined to take matters to a conclusion that evening.
He noted there was an 18-month delay between the accused being charged and his trial, meaning that although the man was a minor at the time he committed the offence, he was tried as an adult.
“The defendant made a series of wrong and ill-judged, extremely immature decisions,” he said.
Mr Justice McDermott said he must have regard to the defendant's young age, the fact he has no previous convictions and the fact he showed remorse for his crime.
He sentenced the man to five years' imprisonment with the final two years suspended, under the condition that he liaise fully with the probation services and be assessed for a sex offenders course.
Mr Justice McDermott added that the defendant must not approach the complainant and ordered him to refrain from contacting her on social media.