A Kerry man has received a prison sentence of eight years with 18 months suspended for raping a young woman as she slept in her own bedroom.
The Central Criminal Court heard Conor Quaid (26) was in the victim's home on the night because he was a trusted family friend. Justice Mary Rose Gearty said that he abused this trust and noted that he has not shown any remorse since.
Quaid of Monaree, Dingle, Co Kerry had pleaded not guilty to rape at a place in the county on June 10, 2018. After a seven day trial a jury at the Central Criminal Court found him guilty by a majority verdict of ten to one.
The court heard that Quaid had travelled to the home of the victim after a night out drinking in a nearby town. The woman had stayed in that night, wasn't drinking and had gone to bed early.
Quaid went to her bedroom and raped her while she was “curled up” asleep, Justice Gearty said. The woman later told gardaí that she woke up to find someone raping her but she didn't know what was happening at first and she “froze”.
When she realised what was taking place she turned her head and saw Quaid and said “what the hell are you doing”. She told him to get out of her room and Quaid jumped up and left the room and the woman then realised her pyjama bottoms and underwear had been removed while she slept.
She was struggling to make sense of what had happened and the next day she sent a message via Facebook to Quaid accusing him of raping her, Tom Rice SC, prosecuting, said. He told the court that Quaid's replies to these accusations were “accepting of his guilt”.
Mr Rice said that Quaid knew that the victim was home alone on the night as her family were away on holidays. He said that while he was a family friend he had not received express permission to enter the family home that night.
After his arrest Quaid denied that sexual intercourse had taken place but said that there had been consent to “a certain level of sexual activity”.
Micheal Bowman SC, defending, said his client has a medical history of alcohol dependency and that since this offence he has made efforts to address this.
He said his client's father is a retired garda and his family would be well regarded and well thought of. He handed in a number of testimonials which he said were evidence that his client is a hard working, honest man for whom this offence was out of character.
Justice Gearty said that there is no evidence that Quaid's alcohol addiction were such that he didn't know what he was doing and that there was evidence from before the attack that he was attracted to her.
“He wanted to have sex with her and he did so at a time when he longer cared whether she consented or not,” she said, noting that while Quaid has accepted the verdict of the jury he has not accepted her version of events.
In a victim impact statement, read by Detective Sergeant Ernie Henderson, the woman said that the attack has left her feeling powerless.
“You (Quaid) did whatever you liked. I had no choice on that night. You made me feel like I was worthless,” she said.
She said before the rape she was a “happy outgoing person” but she now struggles with panic attacks, guilt and shame on an ongoing basis. She said she tried to return to her third level studies but couldn't concentrate and has since dropped out of college.
She described having to deal with “intrusive thoughts” of the attack on a daily basis, as well as nightmares and panic attacks. She said everybody in the locality knew about the rape.
“I know some people held me responsible and that is difficult when I am the victim,” she said.
Mr Rice said that “there is almost universal knowledge of the case” in the locality and that while the victim does not want to be identified she wants Quaid to be identified.
Justice Gearty said that the victim had a right to security in her own home and that Quaid violated the sanctity of her home. She said the reason he was there and knew where the victim slept was due to his position as a family friend and that he had abused this trust.
She imposed a sentence of eight years and said the court had little scope to reduce this because of the absence of a guilty plea or of remorse. She did suspend 18 months on condition that he be of good behaviour for three years after his release and stay away from the victim in perpetuity.
She said she was taking into consideration Quaid's relative youth, his lack of previous offending, and the fact that he has struggled and overcome an alcohol addiction.
Mr Bowman handed in a number of testimonials from people who knew his client, including a publican for whom Quaid had worked as head barman.
This referee described Quaid as “very honest” and “the best employee I had in 25 years of business”.
Another referee who knows Quaid “personally” spoke of his commitment to a local GAA club and the time he had taken to care for an elderly relative.
Another referee described Quaid and “courteous and hardworking”. He said the offence was “out of character” and he hoped Quaid could move forward without the blight of addiction.
A team leader at a treatment facility for addiction described Quaid as having displayed responsibility for his issues.