Rape crisis centre head unsurprised rape jury asked to consider underwear worn by complainant

Noeline Blackwell

The head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeline Blackwell has hit out at the use of 'rape stereotypes' in rape trials.

She was reacting to the comments of a barrister representing a man acquitted of raping a teenager in Cork who suggested the jury in the case should reflect on the underwear worn by the 17 year old woman.

The 27 year old man - who had denied raping the woman in a laneway in Cork - was found not guilty by the jury of eight men and four women at the Central Criminal Court.

In her closing address, Senior Counsel Elizabeth O’Connell told the jury they should have regard for the fact that the woman was wearing a thong with a lace front.

CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeline Blackwell says unfortunately she wasn't surprised this language was used.

"When someone goes into court as a complainant ... they are likely to be asked that and are likely to worry about it.

"All of these things are rape stereotypes that are used by defendants to plant a doubt in the minds of a jury taking away from the law which is that sex without consent is a crime."

Digital Desk

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