DPP v Arundel

 
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[2015] IECA 16

THE COURT OF APPEAL

The President

Birmingham J.

Edwards J.

214/12
DPP v Arundel
APPROVED
Mr. Justice Edwards
JUDGMENT
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
V
George Arundel
Appellant

214/2012 - Ryan Birmingham Edwards - Court of Appeal - 27/1/2015 - 2015 IECA 16

CRIMINAL LAW RAPE (ADMT) ACT 1991 S2

CRIMINAL LAW RAPE (AMDT) ACT 1991 S4

NON FATAL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ACT 1997 S15

SEX OFFENDERS ACT 2001

O'MALLEY THE CRIMINAL PROCESS THOMSON ROUNDHALL 2009 PARA 23.13

Criminal law - Jury - Conviction - Offences of attempted rape, sexual assault, rape and false imprisonment - Appeal against conviction and sentence - Sought to have conviction set aside - Submitted that verdict of jury was against weight of evidence and subsequently perverse

Mr. Justice Edwards
1

This is a case in which the appellant was convicted by a jury on the 29th February, 2012, following a twelve day trial in the Central Criminal Court of offences of attempted rape contrary to common law, sexual assault contrary to s. 2 of the Criminal Law Rape (Amendment) Act 1991, rape contrary to s. 4 of the Criminal Law Rape (Amendment) Act 1991 and false imprisonment contrary to s. 15 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. The jury were unanimous in convicting the appellant on the counts of attempted rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment respectively. The appellant was convicted by a majority verdict of 10/2 on the count of rape contrary to s. 4.

2

The case was concerned with the detention against her will and sexual molestation of J N on the 23rd May, 2011, at a location in the southern half of the country. Following his conviction on all counts on the indictment, the appellant was sentenced on the 7th June, 2012, to imprisonment for a term of ten years on each count, to run concurrently back dated to the date on which he went into custody. The appellant was also directed to undergo a period of eighteen months post release supervision and was declared to be a sex offender for the purposes of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The appellant appeals to this court against both his conviction and sentence in respect of all matters.

3

In respect of the conviction aspect of the case the appellant contends that his conviction is unsafe and unsatisfactory and seeks to have it set aside on one ground and one ground only. He contends that the verdict of the jury was against the weight of the evidence and was accordingly perverse.

4

It is necessary at this point to briefly rehearse the nature of the evidence that was before the jury and in that regard I am adopting the summary of para. 12 of the appellant's written submissions which seems to me to represent a succinct summary of the complainant's evidence. There was other evidence in the case to which I will also allude In a moment. The complainant's account of events was that she went out to an off-licence at approximately 21.15 on the 23rd May, 2011, to purchase alcohol and cigarettes. There was a male at the counter in the off licence at the time. She left with her purchases, stopped to light a cigarette and was grabbed from behind by a male who stated "you are keeping me company tonight". She was then dragged through a gap in a ditch into the adjacent field. She realised that it was the same male who had been at the counter in the off-licence shortly beforehand. The complainant was forced to sit on the ground on a flattened area of grass. She made repeated attempts to escape but was prevented or overpowered each time. The complainant alleged that her assailant then proceeded to attempt vaginal rape and to force her to perform oral sex. She then managed to overpower her assailant and called for help at the nearby shopping centre, and indeed the evidence was that she ended up at the entrance to the (named) public house and off licence in a state of some dishevelment and distress, and also covered in mud.

5

There was, as I have already mentioned, other evidence in the case of a forensic nature, and in particular concerning a subsequent medical examination of the injured party at the Sexual Assault Unit at a particular hospital. The injured party was found to have a significant number of bruises. In addition, the usual post alleged sexual assault medical examination was carried out and various swabs were taken from her. She was found to have semen on her vulva and abdomen that was later identified by means of DNA analysis as having the same DNA profile as that obtained from the blood of the appellant in this case.

6

Insofar as the case is made that the verdict of the jury was against the weight of the evidence and was perverse, this case is based entirely on alleged inconsistencies and matters of confusion that are said to have become apparent following the cross-examination of the complainant at a very considerable length by counsel for the appellant. The court finds it unnecessary to comment with respect to the propriety of the cross examination. However, in specific terms, the first complaint made is that considerable confusion arose with regard to the location of the alleged offences and in particular concerning the location of the specific entrance or gap leading into the field where the alleged offences were said to have taken place.

7

This is responded to by the respondent to this appeal in written submissions. Counsel for the respondent has invited the court to adopt his written submissions in respect of this complaint, and indeed the other complaints which the...

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