A young woman left alone with a man in a St. Helier flat after a night’s drinking made the “ideal victim”, a prosecuting lawyer has said on the third day of a Royal Court rape trial.
Advocate Emma Hollywood, appearing for the prosecution, made the comments to the jury during her final address to the court in the trial of Manuel Ricardo dos Ramos Aguilar (24), who denies having sex with a woman without her consent in autumn 2017.
She explained this morning that a rape was a rape regardless of how long it lasted or whether the victim could remember it, and that in this case the victim had to deal with the consequences of becoming pregnant and having a termination when the morning-after pill failed to work.
She told the jury that Mr Aguilar deliberately plied Miss X with drink before he helped take her back to her flat where he raped her.
Pictured: The trial is taking place in Jersey's Royal Court.
The Crown Advocate argued that it was incredible that Miss X’s physical condition had deteriorated to the point where she had to be helped out of the Royal Yacht Hotel and subsequently carried along New Street if she had only had a single drink in the 40-minute period she spent in the hotel with the defendant.
Her subsequent incapacity, which Advocate Hollywood said was corroborated by all the independent witnesses who saw her on her way home, meant that she was incapable of giving consent to sexual intercourse.
“If she couldn’t properly sign her name [for the paramedics], how could anyone say that she could consent to sex,” the Advocate asked.
Pointing out that it was a feature of many rape cases that there were no witnesses apart from those involved, she invited the jury to consider whether it was Miss X or the defendant who was the most credible.
She contrasted Miss X’s account that she was too drunk to remember what had happened with a similar claim made by Mr Aguilar, who was judged to be much less seriously affected by alcohol, according to the group of people who called an ambulance for Miss X and the paramedics who attended her.
Pictured: Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq is presiding.
“The defendant is asking you to believe that Miss X suddenly became compos mentis while he then became intoxicated and had a lapse of memory. There is compelling evidence that he was not drunk but that she was so intoxicated that she could not consent,” she said.
She argued that text messages sent by the defendant from Miss X’s flat which mentioned her physical condition were the best reflection of his state of mind and contradicted the claim that he was incapable at the time.
But Advocate Adam Harrison, defending Mr Aguilar, said that there was no evidence this his client had sought to get Miss X drunk. Indeed, examination of his mobile phone messages showed that he had planned to spend the evening with friends.
Having met Miss X at her invitation, he said he had helped her when she became drunk and had initially found himself alone with her only because one of her friends left them on the way home. Subsequently, he had accepted all offers of help from other people which Advocate Harrison said contradicted the Crown’s claim that he was seeking to take her home with him.
He drew attention to conflicting accounts of how drunk Mr Aguilar was and argued that there was evidence that Miss X’s condition improved during the walk home.
“Julie Rowland, a qualified paramedic in a role which requires experience and training, and who had not been out with friends and had not been drinking, made an important assessment that at 1.15 am Miss X was able to understand and retain information long enough to make a decision about medical treatment and to communicate that decision. It was an hour after she stopped drinking,” Advocate Harrison said.
Referring to what happened once Miss X and the defendant returned to her flat, he said there was only one thing of which the jury could be certain and that was that sexual intercourse took place. There was no evidence of what else happened or of the state of mind of those involved.
However, he argued that the one indication that Miss X had remembered something of the evening was a conversation she had with a friend at lunchtime the following day when she referred to the defendant being on her sofa with his trousers down.
Highlighting police analysis of phone messages, which the jury had seen earlier in the morning, he said that there was no evidence that this information had come from Mr Aguilar, yet it backed up his account.
Advocate Harrison said that Miss X’s concern about what people might think about her behaviour and the impact of her termination, which was completed on the day she made her complaint, might have affected her assessment of whether she had in fact been raped.
“The evidence does not prove that she was raped and if you cannot be sure of it, I would invite you to acquit,” he concluded.
Summing up to the jury, Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq told the nine women and three men that they had to decide whether the defendant had sex with Miss X without her consent and whether he knew she had not consented or had been reckless in not establishing whether she had given consent.
There was no dispute that sex had taken place, he said, so the sole issue to decide was whether she had consented. It was, he explained, not necessary for the prosecution to show that she had resisted but rather that she had not exercised free choice in the matter.
“The defendant is guilty if he knows she does not give consent and he is reckless if he does not believe it and could not care less and carries on regardless. If he genuinely believes she has consented although he is mistaken, he is not guilty,” he explained.
Following the judge’s review of the evidence, the jury retired to consider its verdict just before 14:30.
Catch up on the case...
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.