AN EAST Donegal has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting his friend’s girlfriend after a night out together.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, cleared at Letterkenny Circuit Court yesterday evening after a two day hearing.
The jury of five men and seven women took more than two hours to reach their majority verdict.
The man, who is in his thirties, denied assaulting the woman as she lay asleep in bed with her boyfriend at a Letterkenny house in the early hours of May 17, 2010.
The woman, who now lives overseas, gave evidence by video link.
She described how she went drinking with friends at 6pm the previous day.
They ended up in a local nightclub from where they left together “drunk” in a taxi to go home at around 2.30 am the following morning.
She said she asked the defendant, and another man, if they wanted to stay with them that night. Both refused the offer, however, the defendant returned to the house after the taxi left the other man home.
The couple and the defendant sat in the kitchen talking.
The woman said she went upstairs to bed with her boyfriend, fell asleep and was awoken at around 3:30 am by someone touching her breasts, side and bottom.
However, she panicked when she realised it was not her boyfriend, but the defendant.
She said he tried to push him out of the room and shouted at him “three or four times” to leave but he refused and told her to be quiet and that everything would be OK.
The court heard her boyfriend eventually woke up and told the man to “get out.”
The woman’s partner also gave video-link evidence.
He said he awoke to find his partner kicking him and claiming she had been assaulted by the man.
The woman’s partner said he roared at the other man to get out, gave the woman a hug and then went back to sleep.
He said the next morning his partner told him to get the accused out of the house.
He added that the reason why he went out with the accused was to get him out of the house.
He said he drank up to seven pints and continued to get texts from his partner before going home.
Defence barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, said there were many holes in the woman’s story.
He claimed she did not know exactly what happened because of the amount of drink taken.
“There is no evidence of what actually happened, stories are invented and slowly, but surely, belief turns to fact.”
He added that the woman’s partner’s evidence was “tainted and corrupted” because of his loyalty to his partner.