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Injuries more likely if non-consensual sex, rape trial told

Injuries more likely if non-consensual sex, rape trial told

Thursday 12 January 2023

Injuries more likely if non-consensual sex, rape trial told

Thursday 12 January 2023

It is more likely that someone has been sexually assaulted if they have an injury than if they had consensual sex, a forensic expert has told a jury hearing the case of a man accused of three counts of rape against a woman.

The trial of David Sullivan (28), who denies all the charges against him, opened in the Royal Court on Monday.

Yesterday, the Royal Court heard about various injuries identified during an examination of the alleged victim after she attended the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.

Among those to give evidence was Dr Deryn Evans, who was part of a team who peer reviewed the original examination of Mr Sullivan's accuser, which was undertaken by Dr James Newton.

Dr Newton's findings included abrasions, a bruise on her inner left bicep, which Mr Newton described as a "protected area", and multiple scratches on her body.

He said: "My level of understanding is that it is five or six times more likely they have been sexually assaulted if there is an abrasion, than if they had consensual sex."

Answering questions from Crown Advocate Simon Thomas, prosecuting, Dr Evans told the court that her peer review found additional injuries.

"Redness and swelling indicates to me blunt force trauma. It is consistent with something pushing against the area," she said.

"It is very rare for consensual sex to have more than one injury. More than one genital injury and bruising is much more consistent with non-consensual sex," she added.

Cross-examining Dr Evans, Advocate Sarah Dale, defending, asked when those injuries were likely to have occurred.

Dr Evans said that injuries to that part of the body healed "quickly" and it was likely the woman's injuries were from the previous week.

She added that her conclusions were based off research studies, which she acknowledged had "some limitations".

Giving evidence earlier in the trial, the woman admitted that she and Mr Sullivan, who she met online, had had consensual sex that was sometimes rough.

Mr Sullivan was originally charged with a fourth count of rape, but the prosecution decided to offer no evidence.

Commissioner Sir John Saunders was presiding. The trial continues today.


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