BT man cleared of rape

| 16/06/2014

(CNS): Shane Connor (36) walked away from court on Friday a free man following his acquittal on a rape charge by a jury after a two week trial. Connor had denied raping a woman who claimed she had been drugged and found herself at his home where he had sexual intercourse with her against her will. She described being in a dream-like state, almost paralyzed and unable to stop Connor during the sex act, in which she said he moved her into several different positions but she had repeatedly asked him to stop. However, Connor denied forcing himself, saying they had consensual sex and she did not appear to be intoxicated.

In what was a very emotional and sensitive testimony, the complainant said she could not remember all the details of the alleged rape, including how she got to Connor’s house. She recalled arriving there and being in her car and urinating on herself. She said she was not in control of her body but Connor had led her inside to his bedroom and had sex with her, but feeling powerless, she said she was unable to stop him. She later concluded that she had been drugged as she had only consumed two beers and two shots of Hennessey during the evening at the bar where she met the defendant.

Connor, however, said the woman had chosen to drive him to his home in her own car after they had met up in the bar. She had parked at the back of the property in Savannah after asking if he had nosey neighbours. He said they had become intimate when they both got out of the car outside and that’s when he realized she had wet herself but he said she did not appear intoxicated. He said she just removed her clothes and threw them in the car.

Giving evidence on his own behalf in answer to the charges, Connor told the court the woman went willingly into the house with him and into his bedroom where she removed her underwear. Given what he said was an open invitation by a woman he had known for many years and whom he found attractive, he went ahead. He said they had sex in different positions, which he did not have to force her to take, and she had never said ‘no’ or asked him to stop during the intercourse. He said, however, that when he asked her to engage in oral sex she refused, so that did not happen.

Connor said there was nothing that would have suggested to him she was not consenting. He said that after the act they spoke and exchanged numbers and when she left he said he would callher to make sure she got home safely, which he did, and although he did not get through, the phone records reveal Connor's attempts to call the woman. Telephone evidence also confirmed that he had called her the next day as well and the two had exchanged text messages.

CCTV footage also showed that they had left the bar in George Town together before heading to Connor’s house, despite the complainant’s insistence that she would never have gone willingly with him and was insistent she did not leave with Connor.

The court also heard that the woman had first made the claim that she believed she had been drugged and raped more than a week after the event, when another friend had called her saying she had heard she had been with and had sex with Connor.

Connor’s defence team argued throughout the trial that the incident was consensual and it was only when people began to find out that the woman began making claims about being drugged and raped as it may impact her own existing relationship.

The defence convinced six of the seven jurors that there was enough reasonable doubt about the events and inconsistencies in the complainant's evidence to allow Connor to walk free.

Having been arrested in the wake of a separate allegation in March 2012, Connor served almost two years on remand before he was bailed after the complainant in the first case withdrew her allegation on the morning of a scheduled trial in February of this year.

Connor has no previous convictions for sex offences and protested his innocence from the beginning. Following the majority six to one verdict on his acquittal, Connor said he was truly grateful to his legal defence team at Stenning and Associates for all their hard work.

“Justice has been done after a long period of time and I can now finally move forward with my life,” Connor told CNS.

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