Law graduate who raped woman after consensual sex jailed for four years

Picture: Criminal Courts of Justice building (Collins)

By Declan Brennan

A Limerick law graduate has been handed a four-year prison sentence for the rape of a woman after they had engaged in consensual sex having met in a pub earlier the same night.

The sentence hearing at the Central Criminal Court heard that Eoin Considine (24) and the complainant had been engaging in consensual sexual intercourse which then became rough. The intercourse continued after the woman had withdrawn consent and begged Considine to stop, the court heard.

Considine of Old Barna Road, Newcastle West, Co Limerick had pleaded not guilty to the rape of the woman at her then residence in the city on August 11, 2019. He was convicted after a trial last January.

The woman, a student nurse, told the trial that she was out drinking in a city centre pub with her friends when she met the defendant. They left together and went to her home where they began having consensual sex.

She said during this he began pulling her hair and banging her head against the headboard of the bed. He grabbed a fistful of her hair and she asked him to stop and he did but then did it again.

The court heard the sexual intercourse continued in a consensual way at this point. The woman testified that after a while Considine became much rougher and “he put his hand around my neck and started to choke me”.

She said at one point she was unable to breathe and she was very frightened and was shaking her head to tell him to stop. She said he moved his hands on to her shoulders and was pinning her down.

The court heard that it was at this point she withdrew her consent and the man continued sexual penetration without consent.

“I started begging him to stop but he didn’t stop having sex with me,” she said. She said this lasted 90 seconds before she was able to move him off by getting her feet up and under him and pushing him away.

Considine apologised to the woman and told her he thought “she liked it” and that he’d had a previous girlfriend “that liked it”. He also told her he couldn’t stop because she was “so good looking”.

The woman was upset and asked Considine to leave. He initially refused and said he wanted to make sure she was okay but she told him she just wanted him to leave and he did, the court heard.

Imposing sentence today, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said rape was a “very serious offence whatever form it takes”. He said rape was a “violation of the victim’s bodily integrity” and a “grossly invasive act of violence”.

The judge noted the prosecution had emphasised that there was “extensive consensual engagement” between the woman and Considine for most of their time together, except for the period of 60 to 90 seconds in question. He said the circumstances of this case are “somewhat unusual,” however consensual sexual engagement beforehand, “does not excuse a failure to stop”.

Mr Justice McDermott set a headline sentence of four and a half years. He noted that Considine accepts the verdict of the jury, but continues to deny rape. Mr Justice McDermott said there was no guilty plea or expressions of remorse which would allow the court to reduce the headline sentence substantially.

He said Considine’s regrets are focused on the impact of this case on his family, but there has been “little or no thought for the victim”.

Mr Justice McDermott handed Considine a prison sentence of four years. He also directed Considine to place himself under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months post-release.

In her victim impact report, the woman said that she was left with bruising on her arms and neck and suffered bleeding from her scalp. She said that she lost any sense of safety in her own bedroom and felt safer staying out all night than she did in her own bed.

She said she found it hard to move on from the idea “that my primary worth only goes so far to provide sexual gratification” and as a result she became “hyper-sexual”. She said Considine’s defence used photos from her phone to try to portray her as promiscuous but that these photos were taken after the assault.

She said she experienced suicidal ideation and that during the trial she felt she had been the one on trial. Addressing Considine directly, she stated: “You’ve offered me no explanation, admission or remorse. You took so much from me in just 90 seconds.”

Justice McDermott said that the evidence was that the sexual activity was consensual up to the point at which Considine pinned the woman down by her shoulders.

After the woman identified Considine through Instagram and Facebook, gardaí contacted Considine by phone and he knew why they were calling. He told gardaí: “I got it wrong, it was wrong, is she okay, I took things too far, I need to face up to that.” During the trial he attempted to resile from these admissions, Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, told the court.

Defending counsel Kathleen Leader SC handed over a dozen testimonials into court from local business owners in Co Limerick. She said everyone who knew her client spoke well of him as a hard-working, gentle and inclusive young man who did his best to help people and who contributed to the community.

She said what happened on the night in question was “very much out of character”. Considine has no previous convictions and qualified with a law degree from University College Cork.

A consultant psychiatrist who treated him stated that since the allegations he has suffered with severe depression and significant suicidal behaviour.

Justice McDermott noted that the woman’s victim impact statement outlined the impact of this incident on her life and that it had affected her “sense of security” in her own home and in intimate relationships.

He noted that certain aggravating factors are absent in this case and said this was not a “premediated or predatory offence”.

Justice McDermott noted that Considine was a “very young man” at the time with “considerable prospects notwithstanding his conviction”. He said he took into consideration the mitigation on behalf of Considine including that he is considered to be at low to moderate risk of re-offending.

Mr Justice McDermott also directed the man to have no contact with the victim through any means.