‘The Way She Was Dressed’


In her closing address to the jury, Ms Elizabeth O’Connell SC [for the unnamed accused] told jurors they should have regard for the underwear the complainant wore on the night.

“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

Counsel for man acquitted of rape suggested jurors should reflect on underwear worn by teen complainant (Liam Heylin, irish Examiner)

71 thoughts on “‘The Way She Was Dressed’

      1. Molly

        No, Elizabeth O’ Connell should be struck off, she is not fit to defend anybody, if she is coming out with c@*& like that. It’s 2018 not 1820. Ireland has supposedly come of age with the last three liberalising referendum results: same sex marriage, legal abortion, and scrapping the blasphemy law. However, as a country, the vestiges of the past are harder to shake off and doubtless nothing will happen to her. Even though this story has gone viral and once again heaped shame on our outdated judicial system, this country remains stubbornly patriarchal in its attitudes towards women.

  1. postmanpat

    Girls, if anything happens to you,… tell your Da, Uncle, Brothers or cousins, and let them take the law into there own hands, that is the only justice in this country. The Judges are clowns, The fella will be walking down the street some day and a van pulls up. bish bash bosh. Seen it happen in Ballyfermot once. yer man was in a heap crying on the ground after a hiding. The lads were saying stuff like “don’t ..KICK…you…PUNCH…ever…..Touch her…etc..” So I assume it was pay back for some sexual assault . . Good times!

    1. Dub Spot

      What moronic advice. Slow day on the taxi rank? Endorsing punishment beatings is not the way to go. Report the assault to the correct authorities and get in touch with the counselling services available.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        And then get labelled a liar who was asking for it if you underwear is even vaguely nice? Fupp that. Get the lads with the baseball bats. It’s the only justice victims of sexual assault and rape will get in this country.

  2. Vanessa off the Telly

    I don’t have the words tbh

    none that would make any sense anyway

    I’m dumbfounded

    1. Paulus

      From this I took it that it was defending cousell (for the accused), who said this:
      Not that it lessens the crass stupidity of the remark – but it would have been even worse if uttered by the actual judge. But then, anything is possible.

    2. Vanessa off the Telly

      Senior Counsel for the accused
      Liz O’Connell SC

      Not a judge
      but she has all the makings of being one very shortly

      seriously tho’
      imagine going into Court and describing another girl’s knickers
      when it’s not even entered as evidence (exhibit) anyway

  3. Grainne

    Why. Is. This. So. Hard to understand???

    Wearing ‘sexy’ underwear or outfits does not necessarily mean I want or intend to have sex.
    It does not mean I am ‘open’ to meeting and having sex with someone.
    Even if I am open to meeting and having sex with someone, my style of underwear does not mean I have to agree to sex with any person at any time.
    Even I am initially attracted to someone and want or intend to have sex with them at some point, I may not want to have sex with them at that particular time and so can still be raped by them.
    Even if I am interested in having sex, begin kissing or foreplay (or indeed start having sex) I can still change my mind at any point and it can still be rape if the sex does not stop at my request.
    Even if there was actually insufficient evidence of rape in this particular case, the underwear this woman wore has NO bearing on whether or not she was raped. None. Zero.


    1. McVitty

      I think you will find it depends who you are kissing and the circumstances – and that’s where the responsibility and judgement lies, particularly as an adult. We should take responsibility for our personal safety and feeling we can say no is the beginning of empowerment and responsible action.

      If you think we can wish away the insecure creeps in this world, that’s a very naive notion – and if you think it’s ok to socialise the blame on all men, that’s even more naive. And before we go to victim-blaming, does victim-blaming apply the person wearing a meat-jacket on safari? I doubt it very much.

      1. Dr.Fart MD

        “adult” … the only adult was him. he was 27, she was 17. she was a child. she can wear whatever underwear she wants. they aren’t on show anyway. meat-jacket on safari. now that’s victim blaming.

      2. Paul Lane

        This girl is a 17 year old child under the 2004 Act and O’Connell played to the lowest common denominator being the jury. It is time that they stopped preventing people who know the law from jury duty because they are not so easily fooled by this low life attack by the senior counsel…who is a disgrace and not interested in justice just winning

  4. Hansel

    Just as an aside, I know it’s a horrible and bizarre thing for anyone to say, but it’s not necessarily the reason the man was acquitted. There may ALSO have been flimsy evidence to convict. It’s still a horrible and bizarre comment from the barrister though.

    1. ReproButina

      And the point is that it was a stupid thing for the barrister to say, irrespective of the outcome.

      We’re supposed to be beyond “sure wasn’t she asking for it dressed like that”. What she was wearing is a total irrelevance. Never forget that the number one deciding factor in a sexual assault is the presence of a sexual assaulter.

  5. Joe Small

    I was going to wonder out loud how a female barrister sleeps at night after saying something like that in front of the girl but then I remember that not having a soul is practically a pre-requisite of practising law.

  6. Shane Duffy

    Should be huge ramifications for false accusations of rape This poor guy’s life was almost ruined. No doubt #IBelieveHim won’t be trending on Twitter anytim etoday.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      It wasn’t a false accusation. A man is more likely to be raped by another man than falsely accused of rape.

          1. McVitty

            hmmm….it’s not hard to seek out the statistics to re-enforce your view – especially when the media shares your view…anyway, there is a conflict of interest that makes me less than trustful.

            Reading your comments on here, you should not forget that we ALL have to deal with sociopath types, often male, sometimes female…and we should stand together, isolate them and look out for one another. I’d be a bit careful about endorsing the dominant feminist position we are living through. This interview gets demonstrates the core where the only consistent position is bitter resentment of ALL men and boys and anything that benefits them. You don’t have to watch it but is incredible to see some of the ugliness that underlies the current feminist position: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZYQpge1W5s

  7. The Old Boy

    A somewhat tangential comment – eagle-eyed followers of criminal court proceedings will notice how often senior counsel for the defence in cases of rape, sexual assault, incest and child sexual abuse cases is a woman compared with other serious criminal cases. Instructing solicitors seem to think they make a better impression on the jury and certainly seem have more scope to make submissions such as this.

    1. Steph Pinker

      The Old Boy, just out of curiosity, what do you mean by ‘scope’ in the context of this case (or any other)? Is there a legal definition, or, is its interpretation at the discretion of the presiding judge to the [subjective] point whereby such a comment can be submitted, and/or instructed to be relevant to a jury – or not?

      1. The Old Boy

        I didn’t use the word in a legal technical sense. My meaning was that it would both have engendered more outrage and made a poorer impression on a jury had a male SC said it.

        Defence counsel can say more or less what they like in a closing speech, within professional limits, so don’t take my use of the word scope in that sense. If counsel says something that shouldn’t be taken into account, the judge must say so in clear terms in his summing up and directions to the jury.

        1. Steph Pinker

          Thanks for your response, The Old Boy; I understand the nuance of language, life, and the legal implications of how each is subject to interpretation.

    1. Starina

      internalised misogyny.

      there are books and books on it, but it boils down to those two words.

      Every woman has her own method of self-defense and coping with the day-to-day navigations of this ghastly world, and one of them is to think “I would never allow that to happen to ME”. It’s a way of throwing other women under the bus in order to feel safe.

      It’s fupping enraging.

    2. Captainpants

      Because women aren’t a group of people who all have the same interests any more than men are.

      Ask yourself how that question would sound if you said “Why do people hate people so much?” There’s millions of answers to that question – there’s no single source of hatred that explains them all.

      Saying “Why do women hate women so much?” is about half as nonsensical.

      As for ‘Internalised Misogyny’ – this is simply a poor attempt to explain the fact that women are people just like men. Some of them are liberal, some of of them are conservative, some of them are kind, some of the are selfish and so on.

  8. john f

    In all honesty, leaving the obnoxious comments made by the senior counsel to one side I probably would’ve found him not guilty as well. From the information contained in the article, it would be hard to prove a rape charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
    What happened was wrong But there was just too many discrepancies.

  9. Martco

    does the judge here not have some responsibility? like to remind the jury that this barrister’s bile is nonsense and can be disregarded??

    1. dav

      I’m not sure a judges can interrupt closing arguments, he/she could offer direction to the jury afterwards.

  10. Dr.Fart MD

    i like that a link to the barrister is offered. take note: when you click the link the page gives you an email address. so feel free to email her what you think of what she said. i know i will. there’s also a phone number.

      1. Dr.Fart MD

        jesus. she really does not think much of her own sex. she is to woman what sam l. jacksons character in ‘django unchained’ is to black people.

  11. steve white

    A barrister defending somebody has to pursue every possible angle to defend a person, should she not?

    1. Vanessa off the Telly


      But someone’s appearance and or apparel, unless it was entered as an exhibit, can, and in this case, I’m going to say I’m entitled to say so, was a personal remark about a witness that was intended to weaken their character and subsequently their email.

      With a bit of luck solicitors will think twice about briefing this SC again

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        Sadly, I think certain solicitors will be more than happy to brief (HA, HILARIOUS) her again.

    2. Dr.Fart MD

      so you see this barrister say that this 17 year old girl wore lacey underwear .. UNDERwear .. underneath her clothes .. UNDERwear .. was a sure sign she was ‘up for it’ .. and you think “good. good barrister. do all you can.” You horrible little boy.

      1. Steve White

        Don’t tell me what I think, I think barristers in court hold themselves to different rules of conduct then in the rest of the world.

        1. Dr.Fart MD

          hot headed little effer. look, you said “A barrister defending somebody has to pursue every possible angle to defend a person, should she not?” and I’m saying, no she should not. but youre saying its fine, because barristers do what they want. you’re ok with it.

          1. steve white

            Don’t tell me what I said, I didn’t say I was fine with it, I suggested it should be discussed as something that barristers do.

  12. Paul Lane

    This girl is a 17 year old child under the 2004 Act and O’Connell played to the lowest common denominator being the jury. It is time that they stopped preventing people who know the law from jury duty because they are not so easily fooled by this low life attack by the senior counsel…who is a disgrace and not interested in justice just winning. This woman was against the repealing article 40.3.3


  13. orla

    Just because he was found not guilty doesn’t mean she lied it just means there wasn’t enough evidence in the eyes of the jurors to convict him! Seriously how can you not get that!

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