Rape case set back again

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A NEWRY Crown Court Judge said he felt "hemmed into a corner" after being forced to once again delay disposal of a rape case.
Crossmaglen man Padraig O'Callaghan has admitted raping and robbing a girl he lured into his car with the promise of a lift home in December 2011.
O'Callaghan of Monog Road offered his victim a lift after she become separated from her friends following a night out on December 11, 2011.
But instead of being taken home, the young woman was driven from Sugar Island to Talbot Street, where O'Callaghan raped her. The victim was then driven to Stream Street, where she was dragged from the car onto the road before being put back into the car again and driven to North Street, where she and her handbag - which had been emptied of its contents - were thrown out.
O'Callaghan initially denied any involvement, claiming on arrest that he'd never met the victim - despite his DNA being found on her body. He changed his plea to guilty in September.
Another man, Brendan Treanor - whose address has been listed variously as, Dowdallshill, Dundalk, Cortreasla Road, Crossmaglen and, most recently, Mourneview, Cladymore, Armagh - has admitted perverting the course of justice by providing false statements to police regarding the night in question.
The latest adjournment in the case comes after a pre-sentence report concluded that 23-year-old O'Callaghan is a danger to the public. It's an assessment defence hopes to challenge. But on Monday, the court was told that a psychiatric report ordered by it with a view to disproving probation's verdict has yet to materialise.
The court heard that, while a draft report had been received by defence on December 8, it failed to deal with the one issue it had been directed to - O'Callaghan's dangerousness. A fresh report was directed which, the court was told, had never been produced. The court heard that repeated efforts by defence to contact the report's author in the run-up to Monday's hearing - which had been scheduled as a sentencing sitting - had been futile.
It wasn't until the Monday morning itself that contact was successfully made, defence said. This contact confirmed that the psychiatric assessment reaches a differing conclusion to that of the pre-sentence report, defence added.
Acknowledging the distress repeated delays would be causing to the victim, defence said all parties now wish to see the case concluded but added: "The important thing is to get sentencing right. A rush to sentence to avoid further delay will undoubtedly have longer term consequences."
Judge Kevin Finnegan said that, while his inclination was to pass sentence as soon as possible, "if I was to do so, as certain as night follows day, there will be an appeal, leading to many more months of uncertainty for the complainant".
Saying he felt angry and hemmed into a corner, the Judge adjourned the case for mention only on Friday (January 17).

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