A teenage girl's underwear was used as evidence in an alleged rape case in Cork.
There has been widespread outrage after a barrister representing a man acquitted of raping a 17-year-old suggested the jury consider the teen's underwear as evidence.
Senior counsel Elizabeth O’Connell told the jury in her closing address that they should have regard for the fact the woman was wearing a thong with a lace front.
“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front,” she said.
A 17 year old girl’s underwear was considered fair game at a rape trial. In 2018. In Ireland. pic.twitter.com/FDlJL5QbCi— Brianna Parkins (@parkinsbrea) November 7, 2018
The 27-year-old man – who had denied raping the young woman in a lane in Cork – was found not guilty by a jury of eight men and four women.
A rape crisis counselor has said unfortunately, this incident is not isolated.
Can't get over this barrister asking jury to reflect on a teen's underwear & if her lace thong suggested she was "open" to meeting someone. Wondering what kind of underwear suggests a man is "open" to meeting someone? Any legal experts know? Appalling. https://t.co/S8BgVR8DtK— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) November 7, 2018
“The reference to the girl’s underwear and the assumption and inference that the jury was being invited to draw – that because she was dressed like that she was asking for sex – does not surprise us,” Noeline Blackwell, the head of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said
“We accompany people to court and the whole time we see rape stereotypes used to discredit complainants and to enforce elements of the defendant’s case," she added.