A jury has found a Donegal man of raping a 14-year-old girl at a teenage disco when he was 15.
The 20-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s anonymity, was alleged to have pushed the girl into the ladies toilets and raped her in a cubicle.
The pair were seen kissing shortly before the incident after his friends and her own girl friends had encouraged her to “meet”, or kiss the accused during the youth disco.
The man had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the rape and sexual assault of the girl at a nightclub in County Donegal on 23 December 2010.
The jury of seven men and five women returned the unanimous verdicts of guilty on both charges after deliberating for just over two hours.
Before the jury began deliberating, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan had instructed that, while consent was a constituent legal factor in rape, a person under the age of 15 could not consent.
Ms Justice Heneghan told the jury that where a person below a certain age engaged in sexual activity, it would not be consent even if the person appeared to be an enthusiastic participant.
The man’s defence had suggested to the woman that the couple were “shifting” at the disco and had gone to the toilet for privacy where “they were fondling and it got out of hand”.
The woman denied this version of events and told the court that she had asked the accused to let her out of the bathroom.
The judge remanded the accused in custody after Sergeant Angela Cummins told the court that he had previously breached the conditions of his bail a number of times.
The man will be sentenced in March when a victim impact report and an assessment of the accused by the Probation Services will be provided to the court.
Ms Justice Heneghan asked the lawyers to inform the court on that date of any case law pertaining to sexual offences committed by an accused of a young age.
Gerard Clarke, SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said he “didn’t think there would be much case law” in that area but they would provide what existed.
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