Dismissal of civil claim of sexual assault and rape

By: Lawrence Morris BL

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High Court dismisses civil claim of alleged sexual assault and rape of the plaintiff when she was a schoolgirl in 2009-2010 by the principal of a neighbouring school when he was driving her to school, on the grounds that the evidence did not establish the allegations on the balance of probabilities.

 

 

Right to bodily integrity - plaintiff alleges she was sexually assaulted or raped by defendant - when she was 16 - defendant denies the allegations - standard of balance of probabilities - defendant principal in primary school adjacent to plaintiff's secondary school - sexual assault/rape alleged to have occurred whilst defendant drove the plaintiff to school - over multiple occasions - plaintiff later told vice principal, mother and father - plaintiff made formal statement to garda - only father called to give evidence during trial - consideration of reliability of evidence - issues in relation to evidence surrounding frequency of and degree of assaults and rapes - plaintiff had PTSD - court concerned with delay in replying to notice for particulars - five year delay - consideration defendant's evidence - routine of defendant - cessation of lifts - court finds evidence of father unhelpful - court ultimately finds that the plaintiff has failed to meet the burden of proof - court on the balance of probabilities finds in favour of the defendant - court not satisfied with the plaintiff’s account - court could not reconcile the allegations of the plaintiff with the evidence of the defendant - plaintiff’s claim dismissed.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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