Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lives 'ruined' by rape allegation

Nothing better describes the damage done by a false accusation than their own words.

Group cleared of rape, call for accuser to be named

A group of men cleared by a jury of gang raping a 21-year-old woman have called for their accuser to be named.

Currently, the Scottish media do not name victims of alleged sexual offences.

The jury at the High Court in Perth found Steven O'Rourke and James Hyndman not guilty of raping the woman.

Co-accused Robert Miller and Ryan Dunn had earlier been cleared of the same charge after the Crown dropped proceedings against them.

Speaking outside court at the end of a nine-day trial, Mr Dunn said it was the four men who were the victims. He said: "It is completely unfair that we have all been named and been made out to be animals when it was all a pack of lies.

"She is just an attention-seeker and she should be named and shamed for what she has done to us. It has ruined our lives while it has been hanging over us.

"It has affected not just us, but our families and friends as well. She should be the one in the dock for making all of this up."

The woman, from Bathgate, claimed she had been gang-raped by four men at her former home in the West Lothian town on 11 February and that they had threatened to kill her.

The High Court in Perth heard that the woman had invited them all back to her home and then engaged in group sex with three of them.

Mr Dunn revealed that the group sex had ended when the woman, who admitted downing several vodkas, bourbons and apple liqueurs, became concerned about her kitten.

He said the change in atmosphere led to the men throwing items out of the fourth floor window, which sparked the woman's call to the police.

But the jury preferred the men's account that she had consented to intercourse with three of them.

"She is just an attention-seeker and she should be named and shamed for what she has done to us. It has ruined our lives while it has been hanging over us.

"It has affected not just us, but our families and friends as well. She should be the one in the dock for making all of this up."

The woman, from Bathgate, claimed she had been gang-raped by four men at her former home in the West Lothian town on 11 February and that they had threatened to kill her.

The High Court in Perth heard that the woman had invited them all back to her home and then engaged in group sex with three of them.

Mr Dunn revealed that the group sex had ended when the woman, who admitted downing several vodkas, bourbons and apple liqueurs, became concerned about her kitten.

He said the change in atmosphere led to the men throwing items out of the fourth floor window, which sparked the woman's call to the police.

But the jury preferred the men's account that she had consented to intercourse with three of them.

Consent advice

A spokesperson for the Crown Office said: "After consideration of all the facts and circumstances, Crown Counsel decided there was sufficient evidence to indict James Hyndman, Steven O'Rourke, Robert Miller and Ryan Dunn for assault to severe injury and rape.

"As the trial progressed, Crown Counsel reached the view that the evidence available to the court was insufficient in law to continue proceedings against Robert Miller and Ryan Dunn, and accordingly the libel against them was withdrawn.

"There was sufficient evidence for the charges against James Hyndman and Steven O'Rourke to be considered by the jury. The verdict was entirely a matter for the jury."
Jan Macleod, from the Women's Support Project in Glasgow, said: "This case highlights how important it is that men are absolutely clear about when a woman has given her consent.

"This is especially true when it involves a group of men and one woman."Consent advice

A spokesperson for the Crown Office said: "After consideration of all the facts and circumstances, Crown Counsel decided there was sufficient evidence to indict James Hyndman, Steven O'Rourke, Robert Miller and Ryan Dunn for assault to severe injury and rape.

"As the trial progressed, Crown Counsel reached the view that the evidence available to the court was insufficient in law to continue proceedings against Robert Miller and Ryan Dunn, and accordingly the libel against them was withdrawn.

"There was sufficient evidence for the charges against James Hyndman and Steven O'Rourke to be considered by the jury. The verdict was entirely a matter for the jury."

Jan Macleod, from the Women's Support Project in Glasgow, said: "This case highlights how important it is that men are absolutely clear about when a woman has given her consent.

"This is especially true when it involves a group of men and one woman."

Special thanks to AFOR.

Link:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/8299809.stm