Tag Archives: rape


Man (21) jailed for having sex with 14-year-old neighbour (Irish Times)

independent House, home of the Irish Independent.

‘Bona fide’ journalists are accredited and employed by a recognised media outlet. The copy they file is then processed through a layer of sub-editors, editors and, crucially, lawyers who ensure that nothing in breach of any restrictions ever hits the page.

It’s a rigorous, frequently onerous process, which can be the bane of a court reporter’s existence – but that frequently frustrating experience is also a lot better than collapsing a trial.

‘Citizen journalists’ on the other hand may indeed be citizens, but they’re not journalists.

Simply typing some words on your phone and releasing them to your Twitter feed does not make you a journalist. It makes you, at best, a concerned citizen and, at worst, an amateur who can wreck an entire case.

Court reporting, by its own inherently sensitive nature, is an almost forensic procedure which involves more rules and potential pitfalls than other areas of journalism.

It’s a frequently perilous legal tightrope which takes a particular skill set and expertise to master fully.

The people who spend their day angrily fulminating on Twitter may think they’re fulfilling some role, but they’re a menace.

After all, these rules haven’t been designed to cosset some gilded inner circle, but to protect ordinary citizens from having their right to justice denied by some fool with a Twitter handle.

Ian O’Doherty, Irish Independent, November 20, three days before an article and editorial in the Irish Independent forced the collapse of a rape trial.

Good times.

‘New court-reporting restrictions protect the rights of citizens from some fool with a Twitter handle’ (Ian O’Doherty, irish Independent November 20)

Yesterday: During Deliberations

Saturday’s Irish Independent

The jury had begun deliberating in the case, but yesterday morning, Mr Justice Paul McDermott discharged them, telling them an article (above) had been published in the Irish Independent, juxtaposing the facts of the current case with other cases which had gained a level of notoriety.

He said the ongoing case had been referred to in ways which indicated a fair trial was not being conducted and that there had been an unfairness in procedures at a level unacceptable to society at large.

….Mr Justice McDermott said he was at a loss to understand why the Irish Independent chose to publish this article in circumstances where the jury was conducting deliberations.

Rape trial collapses over ‘unprecedented media coverage’ (RTE)

Rape trial collapses following a newspaper reporÉ (RTÉ)

Thanks Conall

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)

This afternoon.

Dublin city centre.

Protesters, including Ruth Coppinger TD, above, marched from City Hall to the Department of Justice in support of victims of sexual assault and rape.

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Previously: Meanwhile, At the Spire

Liable For prison

Not Guilty

George Hook

At Noon.

George Hook’s High Noon show on Newstalk…

“I want to start the programme with a profound apology. On Friday, September 8, I made comments about rape on the programme which were totally inappropriate and unacceptable and I should never have made them.”

“I realise that those comments spread widespread hurt and offence and, for this too, I am truly sorry.”

“I would particularly like to apologise to all victims of rape, their families, the representatives of organisations who work day and night to reduce the stigma around rape.”

“And also for those who try and increase reporting of crimes involving sexual violence against men and women.”

“It was wrong of me to suggest that any blame could be attributed to those victims or that they bear any responsibility in the crimes committed against them. By doing that, I played a part in perpetuating the stigma and I unreservedly apologise for doing so.”

“Everybody has the right to enjoy themselves without fear of being attacked and, as a society, we have a duty to our daughters and granddaughters to protect that right.”

“On Friday, I failed in that duty of care, a failure I deeply regret and, for which, I am truly sorry.”

Listen back in full here

George Hook apologises for “totally inappropriate and unacceptable” comments (Newstalk)

Earlier: A Limerick A Day

Leon Farrell/Rollingnews


Alvy Carragher writes:

You’ve shared my videos a few times, this is one about a poem (‘Numb’) you’ve previously published which was trolled quite horrifically. It’s called Unsolicited Advice from a Failed Male Poet. And there was an article put up on the Guardian about it for a bit of background.

READ ON: Irish Poet Who Wrote About Rape Ordeal Hits Back At Online Trolls (Guardian)


Sunday’s Sunday Business Post

In the Sunday Business Post, at the weekend, Elaine Byrne wrote about how, at 3am one morning, two men chased her in an attempt to attack her.

Recalling the event, Ms Byrne wrote:

The gardaí came. They said I shouldn’t be out so late and dropped me home.

I never really told anyone about this incident. The narrative would have been predictable. Were you drinking? “No.” Well, you should have known better anyway. You shouldn’t have been out so late. What were you wearing? Somehow, it would have become my fault. I was wrong. What did I expect at that hour of the night? There was no Garda report, no incident recorded for the statistics. Nothing.

Ms Byrne added:

I sat through my friend’s rape trial. I watched her on the stand being cross-examined by a barrister and heard him say the most disgusting line I have ever heard in the English language.

Your injuries are consistent with the straddling of a gate. Did you straddle a gate?

Because that’s what women do for fun. We straddle gates.

Why do we ignore Ireland’s rape problem? (Elaine Byrne, Sunday Business Post)


Justice Patrick McCarthy

This morning, on Newstalk Breakfast, Niamh Ní Dhomhnail spoke to Chris O’Donoghue.

The interview followed yesterday’s decision by Justice Patrick McCarthy, in the Central Criminal Court, to give Niamh’s former boyfriend Magnus Meyer Hustveit a seven-year suspended sentence – after he admitted to regularly raping and sexually assaulting her in her sleep, often while she was under the influence of medication.

Niamh waived her right to anonymity to allow Hustveit be named.

When Niamh read her victim impact statement in the court she said had to give up her job; had tried to take her own life; and had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and anxiety.

Niamh Ní Dhomhnail: “I suppose I’m still very shocked at the ruling. I think it’s a lot of take in and, I suppose for me, and I think this is true of the people who were there to support me. The ruling took, the judge took his time in giving the ruling. He seemed to be very cognisant of the fact that what Magnus really did was quite serious which I didn’t actually think was going to happen at all and in the end of it it seemed to happen very fast in that he acknowledged in principle the severity of Magnus’ actions but, in reality and practical terms, that acknowledgement seemed to mean nothing with a fully suspended sentence. So I think I’m left reeling, I think my parents are too, and all of my friends were there to support me and they’ve been in touch, and I think also and the reason I’ve gone forward is because its absolutely so much bigger than me and it’s so much bigger than just this case because this sends such a clear message to Irish society that rape isn’t rape and sexual violence is not being taken seriously enough. And so yeah I’m really probably not sure how I feel about this.”

Chris O’Donoghue: “Do you feel justice was done?”

Ní Dhomhnail: “No, and I don’t think anyone could. And realistically I suppose I never entered into the legal system, seeking justice, because I don’t know how you would define justice in this kind of situation but, certainly, a concrete acknowledgement that these actions have had an impact on you and that inaudible an eye for an eye or anything like that, I think it’s only fair that when you do wrong, you bear consequences of some sort and, from what I understand, this has had no impact on his life. He’s able to have been in a seemingly very committed relationship within a month of me leaving him. He apparently has been in steady employment the whole time, his employers know about his actions, apparently. And they have publicly said to the court that they’re willing to take him back and that they’d hope that he wouldn’t serve prison time, or the less prison time the better because he’s so irreplaceable in his work and, for me, I haven’t been able to work for quite some time, I’ve been physically unwell, mentally, just drained, so it’s hard to think there’s any justice in that really because it seems his life has just continued, this was like a minor blip and everything is fine for him and I can’t quite say that that’s true of my life.”

O’Donoghue: “Somebody who commits any rape, never mind multiple rapes, getting a suspended sentence and there are people criticising this in the newspapers today but can that ever be, I suppose, can people ever be at peace with the suspended sentence for this crimes?”

Ní Dhomhnail: “I don’t think so. Obviously, I still don’t know, I can’t quite articulate yet, I don’t have the feelings yet to articulate how I feel about it. But certainly, looking at people around me, certainly this is not the first time this has happened. I think it sends a very clear message to victims not to bother to come forward and I think actually, maybe this is, maybe mildly off topic, but it’s something that’s been in my head since yesterday. The justice system is actually creating, it’s kind of creating or paving a way for people to a) not report and b) take matters into their own hands because if you consistently see big cases not being brought to justice in the way that we would like, you know, a complete suspended sentence is what I mean by that – people will just say well there’s no point in going through that hassle, there’s no point in going through that heartbreak, we may as well just take matters into our own hands and that’s actually a very frightening thought but I can imagine a lot of people entering into that mindset, if that answers your question.”

O’Donoghue: “Yeah because, like you said, not everyone is going to be able to speak the way you can and waive their anonymity the way you have so the sentiment of ‘don’t bother’ as you’ve said there might just set in.”

Ní Dhomhnail: “I think so and the statistics are there from the rape crisis network, the rape crisis centre, that most victims do not report what’s happened to them and I was always considering going forward and waiving my right to anonymity because of the unusual nature of this case. I mean that’s what was always said to me, I don’t think this case was unusual because of the actions itself, I think this case was unusual in that it was prosecuted and I wanted to raise awareness that rape within sleep is still rape; it’s not just some stranger in an alleyway but I suppose then when the suspended sentence came about and, you know, a lot of the remarks made in court were…I have to speak out against this because…it is hard to do but if none of us do it then, you know, none of us will have the courage to speak forward and, for me, a little while ago, watching Mairia Cahill’s documentary on [BBC] Spotlight was a real turning point for me, in terms of going forward and if I can do that for one person, if I can get people talking about rape, about how it’s viewed, about how the justice system are ignoring really safety, victims’ rights – the whole point of the legal system – then that’s a good thing.”

O’Donoghue: “Niamh, for you, I’m sure this date has probably been the only thing on your mind and on the horizon of your life that this court hearing was  come up but, for you now and for your life, what’s next? Or can you start to look beyond this or start to plan your life?”

Ní Dhomhnail: “Yeah I think I’ve been trying to do that. Probably for some time now and sometimes you make small headway with these things and other times, you go ten steps back. I suppose I don’t want Magnus or his actions to take anything more away from me than they already have but that’s a real battle that you fight every day because it’s just not something that’s within your control. I’m trying to see that the world isn’t a dark place anymore and actually that’s the biggest hurdle. When you’re having consistent reminders or consistent flashbacks, or nightmares or whatever that makes it quite difficult but I do believe that I’m making good progress, despite everything, and that’s very much down to two very wonderful parents, supportive parents who are huge, ridiculously great friends and I would say that the first boyfriend that I had ever had, he’s been good and caring to me and he’s really showed me that life is worth living, even when things go wrong or something bad happens or you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and so I have hope and I have faith but it’s not, it’s certainly not something that comes easy and there are a lot of dark days in between all that as well.”

O’Donoghue: “Niamh in this conversation, we’ve talked about the fact that you don’t think justice was done for you and we’ve talked about the danger of ‘don’t bother’ setting in in victims in reporting but what do you say, finally, to other women and other men out there who are victims of sexual crime.”

Ní Dhomhnail: “Firstly, thank you for acknowledging that men are also victims of sexual crime. It’s something that I feel really strongly about: that sexual crimes are viewed as heterosexual male-on-female acts which they’re absolutely not. And so for anyone out there who is experiencing what is an act between humans of absolute inhumanity, I would say if you don’t get the right reaction or the right response or a supportive response, or the response you want with the first person you tell, please do not, don’t leave it at that, don’t think that everyone will have that response. There seems to be a lot more out there now and there seems to be a lot more awareness between the Rape Crisis Network, the Rape Crisis Centre, One In Four, the Samaritans, whatever it is, call someone, talk to someone and don’t stop until you feel support and love. Unfortunately this is an issue that can garner a very strange reaction from people and I’ve experienced that myself but just don’t be deterred by that. Speak out against it, get in touch. There are a lot of people, I have realised in the past 24 hours, who have come to me who I don’t know, who I know from the TV, who I know from radio, who I know from the papers and media in general, who show incredible support and strength. So it is there so make sure that whoever you are that you get it because it’s there for you and you deserve it.”

Listen back in full here.

Pic: Keith Heneghan/Irish Mirror

rolemodelsAd in today’s Irish Independent

‘the latest Diageo/Role-models advertisement features a young woman returned home after a night out clearly upset, with her mother standing in the bedroom doorway. The tag line read: ‘Who’s following in your footsteps: Out-of-control-drinking has consequences.’

The sinister inference is that the young girl has been attacked on her way home. The message is it’s her fault for being drunk and what is more it is also her mother’s fault for her own drinking habits.

The belief that drunk girls are ‘asking for it’ is one that needs to be strongly challenged as it is one that we know perpetrators use to select and target their victims knowing this cultural attitude will mean they get away with it. Disappointingly, the out-of-control campaign instead of challenging it has reinforced it here…

‘Not only is the survivor blamed, the survivors’ mother is also in the frame. The perpetrator is not in this picture. This is a harmful, regressive and hurtful message which targets the vulnerable. Survivors of sexual violence should never be used in this manner.

Clíona Saidléar, director Rape Crisis Network

Rape Crisis Network

Thanks Sue Redmond


“The ad in today’s Irish Independent is part of a series of ads that are designed to get a discussion going in Ireland about the consequences of out-of-control drinking – the consequences for children, for siblings, and for our ourselves. The ads are designed to say, amongst other things, that our behaviour influences those around us. The ad in today’s Independent depicts an older sister who has returned home after a night of clearly excessive drinking, who is being watched by her younger sister.

This image may be provocative, and is intended to be. It has however been wildly misunderstood and misinterpreted by the Director of the Rape Crisis Network, who has madea series of completely inaccurate claims about the content of the ad. Nobody associated with this campaign would tolerate for a minute the inference that victims of sexual assault are ever to blame. Many of us have worked with the victims of abuse and assault over many years, and would never allow any untrue inference of that kind. It is an entirely unworthy assertion, based on a misinterpretation.”

Statement from Campaign to Stop Out-of-Control Drinking

Thanks Conor Dempsey