Sonya McClean and Brion Hoban
A teenager who alleges she was raped by a man who invited her to his home denied she was “running away from home” on the night, a jury has heard.
The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to a charge of rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment in a Dublin suburb on August 21st, 2017. The complainant was 15 years old at the time of the alleged rape.
The now 19-year-old, who gave evidence via video link, told the trial previously that she had sneaked out of her home on the night at about 3.45am and was alone in her local town when the accused approached her a number of times.
Dominic McGinn SC, defending, told the complainant during cross-examination that his client accepts that he did meet her that night and that she went back to the apartment with him, but “he says he did not sexually assault you, did not rape you and did not keep you there against your will”.
Mr McGinn suggested to the teenager that she spoke to the accused about why she had run away from home and that she had asked the accused if she could stay at his apartment for more than just that day.
The teenager did not accept that was what happened.
Mr McGinn said his client told her that she could not stay there because he had to go to the garda station.
“He offered for you to go to the garda station with him because you had run away from home and that is where you should be going,” counsel suggested before he also suggested that she and the accused left the apartment at the same time.
“Not true. He was in the shower when I left,” the teenager replied.
She agreed that she left the house that night because she was angry with her family for being grounded.
When asked by Mr McGinn what was her plan that night when she left her home the teenager replied that she had no plan, but denied that she was “running away from home”.
She agreed that she had left her phone behind, but denied that she had done that deliberately, instead she said she had just been rushing.
The teenager did not accept that the reason she left it behind was to cause further worry for her parents.
She agreed with counsel that she later told gardaí that she had left home that night because she wanted to go for a walk to clear her head and again denied that she was running away.
Mr McGinn referred the complainant to counselling notes in which the teenager describes getting drunk at a party the night before the alleged rape, which led to her parents grounding her.
In the note it stated that she told her therapist that she quickly became intoxicated at the party and her cousin helped her get home. When she arrived at her house, her parents were furious.
The notes stated that her father punched her, which sent her flying back into the fridge before he asked her to fight him one on one. The note continues that her father hit her several times and she had a bloody nose, cuts and bruises.
When asked by Mr McGinn if this note was correct, the complainant replied “I am not going to answer that question”.
“Did your father hit you like that on the night before August 21st, 2017?” Mr McGinn asked.
“I am not going to give you an answer,” the teenager replied.
Mr McGinn said that the note continued and stated that “lack of safety at home was one of the reasons she was out that night and why she didn’t want to return home”.
“Yes, I thought my Mam would be awake and she knew I had been gone,” she replied.
She accepted that she had taken her father’s medication with her that night with the intention of taking an overdose.
“This was not the first time you had problems with violence in the home,” Mr McGinn said.
“My family problems have nothing to do with this,” the teenager replied.
The teenager agreed with counsel that after she left the man’s address, she got on a train where she met with a friend. Mr McGinn said her friend thought the train was at 8.20pm.
She agreed with counsel that she was saying she was in the bedroom from the early hours of the morning all the way through until around eight that evening. She said that the only person she saw was the accused man and that she found out another man was at the address because she could hear him talking.
Mr McGinn said gardaí spoke to the other man who lived at the address and he said he got up that day around 1pm and that he saw the teenager come out of the room. The teenager said that was not true.
Counsel suggested that the teenager was not held in the apartment against her will, but that she had wanted to stay there as she was running away from home. He also suggested that the teenager spent the rest of the afternoon watching television and from time to time talking to the accused man.
The teenager denied these suggestions. The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.