Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Man is cleared of rape in unanimous decision

A CITY man has been acquitted of raping a woman as her boyfriend slept next to them.

Darryl Gibbons, 26, of Babblebrook Mews, Pinhoe, was unanimously found not guilty of rape, by the jury yesterday in his trial at Exeter Crown Court.

He had been accused of climbing into bed and having sex with the woman as she slept next to her boyfriend after a drink and drugs binge.

The jury returned to the court with their verdict in the early afternoon, having retired to consider their decision that morning.

Gibbons had pleaded not guilty to raping the woman in a house in Exeter in 2008.

The court heard that he, the woman, her boyfriend and another man were taking cocaine and drinking alcohol. She told the court that she had sex with her boyfriend, they fell asleep and she later awoke to find Gibbons was raping her.

"I was angry because I felt someone had violated me," she said. "I was scared."

Gibbons, represented by defence counsel Stephen Mooney, said that he got into the bed because he was cold while sleeping on the sofa.

"As I recall, me and her looked at each other," he said. "We started kissing. She was awake when I opened my eyes. I believe she instigated it. It was kind of a mutual thing, we leaned into each other and started kissing."

Gibbons told the court that he thought the woman made the rape claim because she felt guilty about cheating on her boyfriend and she did not initially realise how serious it was to make such an allegation.

Mr Mooney, summing up the defence case yesterday, had told the jury that the case gave a "jaw-dropping" insight into the lifestyle of some people in the city.

He said: "This is a number of individuals profoundly affected by consumption of alcohol and drugs. I don't ask you to like the defendant. On his own admission, he is immoral and deeply disloyal to the other man."

But he said it was the defence's case that the woman's behaviour may also have been different to when she was sober.

"This case is all about misadventure and stupidity through the consumption of drink and drugs rather than evil and cruelty," he said.

Gibbons shook hands and said "cheers" to a man in the public gallery who told him 'good luck', as he walked towards the custody box to await the verdict.

After it was announced, Judge Jeremy Griggs thanked the jury for their time.

Thanks to AFOR for the tip.