A woman who alleged she was the victim of a gang rape in 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. However, campaigners have condemned the treatment of the woman, who was told by the judge, 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.
Reporting restrictions meant that the woman’s arrest could not be made public during the trial for fear of prejudicing the proceedings.
Sources in the Garda Siochana, the Irish national police force, stressed on the weekend that the case was still “listed” in the Dublin courts and the judge involved could order a retrial. That, however, hinges on whether the woman is prepared to testify again.
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 first of the accused, a 28-year-old man, lived in the same house as the woman and her partner. He was alleged to have falsely imprisoned the woman, raped her and assaulted her and her partner, causing them harm.
The second man, a 20-year-old, was accused of assaulting the couple, causing them harm, falsely imprisoning the woman and raping her. The third man, also 20, was accused of rape. The trial heard that the alleged attacks took place from Nov. 15 to Nov. 19, 2010.