Alleged rape victim arrested in Ireland for refusal to testify
A woman who alleged that she was the victim of a gang rape in the Republic of Ireland has been arrested and temporarily imprisoned after refusing to give evidence against the three men accused of assaulting her.
The men, who have not been named for legal reasons, were acquitted last week of rape, false imprisonment and assault. But campaigners have condemned the treatment of the woman, who was told by the judge, Mr Justice Paul Carney, to stand directly in front of the three accused and point out her alleged assailants.
The woman, who is from eastern Europe, became so distressed that lawyers later complained they had feared she might collapse in court. When she failed to appear in court the next day, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Police officers found the woman at her home, where she had apparently attempted suicide, but after receiving medical treatment she was arrested and spent a day in the jail cells of Dublin's Four Courts.
In issuing the warrant for the woman's arrest Carney indicated that there could be a retrial. He said: "If she has to spend a long time in prison herself waiting for a retrial that's her fault."
The case has provoked demands for a major overhaul of the way rape trials are conducted. Ellen O'Malley of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said the legal process made complainants "feel they are the ones on trial". She said Ireland had one of Europe's highest rates for rape cases collapsing.
"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-victimising experience."
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