A woman who was gang raped in Ireland, while pregnant, was arrested and imprisoned during the trial for refusing to give evidence.
In a highly unusual practice, according to the Sunday Independent report, the Eastern European woman was made to stand in front of the accused and identify each one. The next day she left a note for her partner saying she was too scared to return to the court.
The Gardai (police) found her in hospital. She had taken sleeping pills and drank over a half bottle of vodka.
Her rape trial was abandoned and she was brought before the court the following day. She was held in a cell, in the same area as the three men she had accused, until she could be sworn in for her own trial.
Last week, the three men accused of her rape were acquitted after a two-week trial.
At the time of the alleged rape the woman had been three months pregnant. She claimed they poured vodka over her face and took turns raping her. She said they also urinated on her and locked her in a wardrobe.
More news from Ireland from IrishCentral
On her first day in court she tried to explain that she had been trapped in the wardrobe before being taken downstairs and raped. Speaking to the Central Criminal Court there was some confusion over which of the men was involved.
Justice Paul Carney told her she would have to go to the dock and point them out. The visibly terrified woman was made stand in front of the accused according to Conor Gallagher’s report in the Sunday Independent.
At the end of the first day the barrister said he was sure the woman would collapse by the end of the case.
The very next day she left her partner a note which read “Don't be mad, I can't go today…I'm terrified. I love you. I will be with my friends.”
When the police arrived to her house at 8.30am and she was missing Justice Carney issued an arrest warrant. He also ordered that no discretion by used in executing it.
Carney said, “If she has to spend a long time in prison herself waiting for a re-trial that's her fault…The lady has chosen not to present herself today. I have issued a warrant for her arrest. There are three other cases awaiting trial. I don't have the mechanism to put you into cold storage so I will discharge you."
Ellen O'Malley Dunlop of the Rape Crisis Centre said a trial like this makes the victim feel like they are on trial themselves.
She said, "This system in our opinion is very imbalanced and needs radical reform. As a result Ireland has one of the highest attrition rates for rape and sexual assault cases in Europe…One of the main reasons for this high fallout rate is because complainants decide not to put themselves through what they say is a re-victimizing experience of a court process."