By Jessica Magee
A teenager accused of raping a schoolmate in Co Donegal when they were both aged 16 has told a court the girl gave no “verbal or physical” indication that she didn't want sexual activity to happen.
The youth also maintained that the atmosphere between himself and the girl as they walked back from the scene of the alleged offences was “romantic”.
The accused, now aged 19, has denied one count of rape and another of oral rape of the girl outside a building in a town in Co Donegal in the early hours of March 18, 2016.
On the eighth day of his trial at the Central Criminal Court today, the accused took the stand and gave his account of meeting the girl after they had been drinking separately with friends on the evening of St Patrick's Day.
The youth told Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that he had drunk a pint of Bulmers, a shot of Sambuca, a Green Diesel drink and was on his second can of Bavaria when he met the girl and her friend in a takeaway.
“I was tipsy but I wouldn't definitely say I was drunk,” he said, describing how the girl agreed when he suggested that they go for a walk.
“We were both in good form, flirting. I remember saying to her that I thought she looked great and she returned the compliment,” he said.
The accused told his counsel that they went behind a building and started kissing and at one point the girl's head banged against the wall behind her.
He said he was having trouble removing her bra and they had “a bit of a giggle” and he made a joke about being useless at taking off bras and the girl reached around and took it off herself.
He said he pressed “very lightly” on the girl's shoulders to demonstrate that he wanted oral sex and denied that she gave any indication she didn't want it to happen.
“There was no indication, be it her saying 'no'...no verbal indication that it wasn't something that she wanted to do, and no physical indication,” he said.
He claimed that he told the girl, “I've a condom if you're up for that,” and said the girl replied “yeah ok.” He told the court he put on a condom and turned the girl around and attempted penetration but “it wasn't happening” because he had lost his erection.
The accused said a van drew up quite close to where they were and he told the girl he would go up and ask the people in the van to leave.
He told the court when he came back from talking to the people in the van he noticed that the girl was “a bit upset and uncomfortable” and he said he told her, “listen we don't have to do this if you don't want to.”
When asked about the atmosphere between them as they walked back up the street he replied, “romantic, I suppose, to put a word on it. We were both very comfortable in each other's company”.
He described how he went on into a nightclub by himself and added, “looking back, I should have stayed with her and waited to see what she was doing and if she was going home or what”.
Under cross-examination by Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, the accused agreed that he sent some Snapchat message to one of the girl's friends some weeks later asking to talk to her.
“I've heard some really f***ed rumours in school I want to make sure she's ok,” he wrote in one message.
“Some of the rumours I heard were sick and I would never intentionally hurt her,” the last message read.
When asked why he didn't try to contact the girl afterwards, he said he had tried to text her on Snapchat but that she had blocked him.
“We had hooked up and I did like her and I was attracted to her, but it was very common for these kind of casual hook-ups to happen. I wasn't distancing myself from her, but quite often people around our age would get together on a night out and they wouldn't start going out and they wouldn't be constantly talking to each other,” he said.
The accused told counsel for the State that the girl was “tipsy but certainly didn't seem drunk”.
He rejected suggestions that the girl told him a number of times that she didn't want to (have oral sex) or that he had pushed down on her shoulders throughout.
“That's definitely, definitely not what happened,” he said.
He also rejected a suggestion that he had kicked her legs apart, pushed her upper body forward causing her to bang her head off the wall and raped her, despite her asking him to stop five or six times.
The accused said he could not account for the multiple bruises and abrasions that were recorded by a forensic nurse on the girl's body three days later, apart from one cut on her head which he said happened when she banged her head while they were kissing.
“I know from my own experiences that often you come back from nights out and you've small bruises that could have happened any time of the night and you don't know when they happened,” he said.
The trial resumes on Monday before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of eight men and four women.
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