The court said, the rape trial jury should have been discharged after asking the judge’s witness about alcohol

The jury in the trial of two men convicted of raping a student must be discharged after the judge asked a witness a direct question about the complainant’s consumption of alcohol, the Court of Appeal was told on Thursday.

Boakye Osei (32), formerly Toban, Burnfoot, Ko Donegal, but now a prisoner at Midlands Prison, and Kelvin Opoku (35), formerly Glendale Manor, Letterkenny, Ko Donegal, but not a Midlands prisoner also requested Was. Convicted in the Central Criminal Court for raping the woman in February 2015.

The jury found them guilty, however, and both men, who are originally from Ghana, were sentenced in March 2020 to nine years in prison by Mr Justice Alex Owens.

He has since appealed the sentence.

In documents submitted to the Court of Appeal, it was claimed that Mr Justice Owens had made a mistake by questioning a witness as to whether the complainant and/or his female friend had appeared intoxicated “on the day of the alleged crime”, where The degree of intoxication was a central element of the prosecution case against both the complainant and his ability to consent to sexual intercourse.

It was further claimed that when a witness told the court that, in her opinion “as a mother”, both women appeared intoxicated, the trial judge was unable to deny the defense’s requests to acquit the jury. Made a mistake and as a result both men were denied one. Fair trial.

Michael Bowman SC for Opoku told the three-judge court that it was not a “judge position” to ask such a question in a “finely balanced” case, where alcohol was a “main issue”.

“Once the question is asked, that answer is out of the box,” the lawyer continued.

The submissions also claimed that “only a small portion of the material” from the complainant’s mobile phone was conveyed to the defendants before the trial began.

Alex White SC for Osei told the court that Mr Justice Owens was “wrong in his attitude and attitude towards phone material”.

Mr White also said that the judge made a mistake in allowing the complainant to be abroad during the trial and to provide evidence via video-link.

“The jurors are entitled to see the behavior of the witness as they leave the witness box and it is not available to them when the video-link is there,” the lawyer said.

In response, the Director of Public Prosecutions for Seamus Clark SC said the question asked by the judge to the witness was “quite well-known”.

Mr Clarke also said that it was within the judge’s discretion to allow video evidence; Whereas, with regard to the disclosure of data from the complainant’s mobile phone, he said that “you don’t need to be a rocket scientist” to find out what kind of material is needed to defend “in such a case”. .

The judgment in the matter has been reserved.

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