Judge issues warning to acquitted man in rape case

| 01/07/2016 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courts, George Town

(CNS): A Bodden Town man accused of rape and indecent assault walked away from court on Thursday afternoon after a visiting judge found him not guilty because, she said, the crown had not satisfied her beyond a reasonable doubt that he had forced himself on the alleged victim. But despite her verdict, Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop warned the young man that there was a part of her that believed he may have taken advantage of the woman, who had told the court she was so drunk at the time she could not give consent, and if so he should never do it again.

The 29-year-old local man was accused of indecently assaulting the woman against her will in a car and then raping her at a house in Bodden Town, where she had gone with him and two other men, one of whom was a close friend. The judge noted some difficulties she had with the crown’s case, which she said had not reached the standard of proof required. She said that as a result, despite believing the defendant may have acted as alleged, she would rather see a guilty man go free than an innocent one go to prison.

“This is a case representing serious challenges … because of the nature of the evidence,” the judge told the court, pointing out that the law requires that any doubt she entertained to be resolved in favour of the accused. “I have to follow the law and my own conscience.”

She said there was some element of danger in the decision. The man had to live with himself, the judge said, and he alone knew what he had done that night. As she released him from the court, she said she did so with a “very strict warning” that “if you did that to the girl, never repeat such behavior”.

During the trial the woman admitted to being extremely drunk when the incident happened on Christmas Day night and Boxing Day morning in 2013. While partying at a local nightclub, she had consumed vodka, tequila, rum and beer and said she was dancing and whining up on friends and being much more vulgar than she would normally be because she was so drunk.

Asked on a scale of one to ten how drunk she was, the woman had said more than nine. She told the court that she had sought out a male friend for a ride to go get food and take her home when the club closed. However, the woman ended up at the defendant’s house.

She claimed that while they were in the car, he had touched her vagina against her will, and then raped her at his house when she arrived there with the three men. She claimed to be barely conscious and unable to resist. The crown’s case was that the sexual intercourse was rape as the woman was not capable of giving consent because of her state of inebriation.

The defendant had denied that he assaulted the woman. At first he had lied to police about having intercourse but during a long interview he admitted that he had but claimed that it was consensual. He said that she appeared eager to have sex with anyone who was willing and believed she had engaged in sex with his friends as well.

The judge said she was concerned that while the woman was drunk, it did not mean she could not give consent. Her behavior and her ability to recall significant details from the night suggested that she was not incapable.

The judge also found that it was only in relation to the material matters regarding the alleged assault and rape, what Justice MacDonald-Bishop descried as the “important moments”, that she had appeared to pass out and was unable to give any details. The complainant had also stated that the penetration by the defendant had been very difficult and had been forced but there was no medical evidence to support that.

Concerned that the complainant may not have been telling the whole truth, the judge described the challenges she faced over the case when she said she did not find the defendant to be a witness of truth either.

Given the concerns she had about the evidence, the judge said she was not completely convinced that the victim had not chosen to go with three men as suggested because she was being adventurous, and while the alcohol had lowered her inhibitions, it had not prevented her from consenting.

“Broadly speaking, I am in doubt that she was so affected that she did not have the capacity to consent,” the judge said in her ruling, before issuing her warning about the doubts she had wrestled with in the case.

Tags: ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (25)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Liz says:

    That’s why they say “drink responsibility”. There are very good reasons why they warn us.. This is one such reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or………..don’t drink. How about that?
      You don’t ever hear much about the ills of the world caused by not drinking. Why is that?

  2. Anonymous says:

    As this young woman was extremely drunk and unconscious she could not have consented to having sex with this disgusting man who took obvious advantage of her. How desperate can you be whomever you are to have sex with an unconscious woman? How can the judge not conclude rape? It seems if she of been beaten and forcibly held down while he had sex with her, it would have been rape? Because she was unconscious and couldn’t stop him, it’s not rape? Really?? I pray the young lady gets the help she needs and the young man is punished one day for this terrible terrible thing he did to another human being!!

    • Anonymous says:

      well by her own admittance. She was too drunk to remember. So who is to say when he had sex with her? maybe he had sex with her, then she passed out? Maybe she consented while drunk, but in the middle of the act, passed out, and the man was too drunk to notice.

      If she’s too drunk to remember, she’s too drunk to testify.

      So maybe, she shouldn’t be getting so drunk.

      Just a thought.

      Why is it, the woman is always the victim. If the man were to get too drunk and got raped. We would all be saying the same thing. Don’t get that drunk.

      Why is it different for women?

      Equality, only when it suits them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I hope you are not suggesting that homosexual are incapable of the misconduct you listed before.

  4. Anonymous says:

    well if she was too drunk to consent. Wasn’t he too drunk to consent too? It’s high time to hold women to the same standard as men.
    They want equality, only when it suits them.

    Just because a women is too drunk, doesn’t mean consent cannot be given. Either drink responsibly, or whatever happens, you have to accept that the fault is yours.

    Bringing this to court is a waste of court time.

    Now if this man had actually “raped” her. Then throw him in the deepest hole you can find.

    But it’s time to stop accepting this behavior from women, who feel they can get knock down drunk and if they do something irresponsible when drunk. can blame it on others, when in the morning, they don’t agree with how they behaved or what happened, the night before.
    Take responsibility for your own actions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, but if I get too drunk I expect people to either leave me alone, or help me home. I do not expect to have a penis or fingers put inside me without my knowledge. Would you? You cannot blame the woman for being too drunk, thats like saying she shouldn’t have worn a short skirt. If a man manages to get an erection and put his penis where it needs to go, he is not too drunk. He took advantage of the situation because he wanted sex and thought he’d get away with it. Do you really think she would have taken it all the way to court if she didn’t think she had been raped. She did the right the thing and was brave to do so. Unfortunately the man didn’t get what he deserved, but at least she knows she did everything in her power to seek justice. She should not be ashamed or embarrased, she should be proud of herself for being strong. One day this man will get what he deserves or his guilt will be too uncomfortable for him to bear.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really would like to know why you think this is such a big problem that women need to start being held accountable. Literally, give examples cause I’m dumbfounded by your accusations. Or is it that you push the boundaries with drunk women who wake up the next morning only to realise you’re actually a loser?

  5. Anonymous says:

    In my book the lady admitting to being really drunk is all it should take for a conviction…no one in that state is capable of making a decision-at least not a logical one

  6. Anonymous says:

    WOW hardly a slap on the wrist at best. Absolutely appalling and disgusting. Where are the politicians condemning this. Oh wait, rape isn’t against the law, I totally forgot! #BrockTurner all over again.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Forgot to say you obviously missed the point of the news article and courts ruling. Read before going off on on random rant

    • Anonymous says:

      He admitted to having sex with her and should not have touched her, Period. REGARDLESS of how drunk she was!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I find it disturbing that the way she danced or the fact that she was too drunk to say no is even admissible. I don’t know the full story but that is victim shaming and it happens far to often when men are accused of rape.

  9. YTB says:

    Stop bringing the churches and politicians into this! They were not their when this woman chose to get so drunk she hardly knew what she was doing. People must accept responsibility for their own actions. She put herself in danger of being taken advantage of and yes believe it or not there are sickos in our community who will prey on and pounce on the vulnerable! This is a classic example. Hopefully this is a lesson learned for both of them and a very real example for other young women that are prone to such irresponsible behavior. Know your limit and if you must have a drink, drink responsibly!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Heterosexual misconduct (rape, incest, paedophilia etc) has always been a massive problem in our community.

    So where are the statements of outrage and concern from our politicians and churches?

    Such misplaced priorities among those who purport to be leaders of the community.

    This is a real Garden of Hedonism.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m a female and agree with this ruling. The woman in question in this case herself admitted to her less than stellar behaviour and obviously had no case. It takes 2 to tangle and she got quite intoxicated it seems intentionally to go tangling that night.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just wondering at what point is it not OK to have a man force himself on you, after one drink, two, passed out? So all of this drama, court case, humiliation etc was what? Her feeling bad about the guy she hooked up with? If she had gone out to get drunk, find a man etc wouldn’t you say she managed to do that, so why bother reporting it to the police?

        The law has moved on in the past 50 years, if a woman can’t consent to sex then it is rape.

      • Banana Boy says:

        Ok I just want to nip this in the butt – but I think the phrase you were going for is “it takes two to Tango”. This will probably go down like a damp squid but its a doggy-dog world out there and I don’t want anyone laughing at you for your phrasing.

    • Anonymous says:

      couldn’t have stated any better anon 12:34

    • Anonymous says:

      Their silence is their statement

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, we have all that so that is the reason why we do not want another malady added to the mix.

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please support independent journalism in the Cayman Islands