An Irish nurse jailed for the rape of another woman in a hotel toilet has won a retrial in an Australian court.
Ann-Marie O’Loughlin was sentenced to two and a half years jail in Brisbane last year on two counts of digital rape and one of deprivation of liberty.
The 26-year-old from Dublin appealed the judgment and has now won the right to a new trial.
She has also been granted conditional bail by judge Patsy Wolfe ahead of the retrial at Brisbane District Court.
The alleged rape took place in the toilets of the Caxton Hotel in Brisbane in November 2009.
The initial four day trial heard that O’Loughlin attacked her 32-year-old victim in the female toilets of the hotel where she digitally raped the woman.
The victim admitted to kissing O’Loughlin for up to three minutes but said she had not given consent for the Irish woman to pull up her top and bra and touch her breast.
She also claimed that she had not consented to being digitally penetrated by O’Loughlin.
The successful appeal was won after lawyers for O’Loughlin claimed that the verdicts were unsafe and unsatisfactory and that the judge had misdirected the jury on a key issue.
Her lawyer Jeff Hunter told the Court of Appeal that the jury had asked for a direction on how it could use intoxication when resolving the issue of mistaken belief.
He claimed the judge gave an incorrect direction and the jury was given a written version of it which would have complicated the matter.
In an unanimous judgment the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, set aside the convictions and ordered a new trial.
The Court of Appeal’s Justice John Muir said the ground of appeal on unsatisfactory verdicts had not been made out. But, he said the jury had not received the necessary assistance to understand the concept of mistaken belief.
The retrial will begin in August and O’Loughlin has been ordered to report to Dutton Park police weekly, not apply for a passport or approach any international point of departure or make any contact with the alleged victim.
O’Loughlin’s solicitor Neil Lawler said: “My client is keen to have the matter resolved so she can return home to Ireland.
“She’s keen to return home to Ireland and is very pleased to have an early new trial date.”
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