It is 'unacceptable' that it took over six years to prosecute a group of men for raping a 17-year-old girl in the midlands, according to the Rape Crisis Network Ireland.
Three men were yesterday found guilty of raping the woman after she became separated from friends in Tullamore on St Stephen’s Day in 2016.
A fourth man was found guilty of sexual assault, while a fifth pleaded guilty to rape before the trial.
After the verdict, Rape Crisis Network Ireland Executive Director Dr Cliona Saidléar said long delays to rape trials are “really traumatic” for survivors of sexual assault.
“We welcome the conviction,” she said. “Successful convictions happen in a minority of cases so each one is to be welcomed.
“The fact that it took six years is unacceptable. I think that’s a common-sense response; I think everyone would agree with that.
“Really, it is something that has concerned us and increasingly concerns, of course, the justice system.”
She said a six-year wait for justice is unacceptable in such a serious case.
“That delay in bringing cases is really traumatic and an imposition and a cruelty, I suppose, on anybody who is a witness to that.
“When I say witness, I mean the survivor themselves becomes a witness and they are waiting for that length of time for that conviction so absolutely, the six years is simply unacceptable.”
During the trial the woman told the court she agreed to get into a car driven by one of the men in what she described as a ‘stupid, snap decision’ in December 2016.
She described being sexually assaulted and raped by several men after being driven to a remote location near Kilbeggan and again at a car park in Tullamore.
Marcos Vinicius De Silva Umbelino, of Riverview, Kilbeggan, County Westmeath was yesterday convicted of rape, alongside Gabriel Gomes Da Rocha of Mount Armstrong, Rahan, Tullamore and Eduardo Dias Ferreira Filho, also of Riverview, Kilbeggan.
Ethan Nikolaou of Brosna Park, Kilbeggan, County Westmeath was convicted of sexual assaulting her at two separate locations.
Conor Byrne of Ballybeg, Moate, County Westmeath pleaded guilty to rape just before the trial started.
They will be sentenced in May.
Reporting from Caoimhseach Connolly and Frank Greaney.