Ban on student areas in Belfast imposed on man accused of rape


Belfast High Court

A Supreme Court judge has ruled that a Belfast man accused of raping a 19-year-old woman on St Patrick’s Day should be barred from entering the city’s student district.

The exclusion zone was imposed on 35-year-old Paul Byrne because he gave bail while intoxicated and charged with assaulting an allegedly unprotected victim.

Bernie, North College Yard, is accused of rape, sexual assault and robbery.

He denies the allegations and claims that any contact with the woman was consensual.

The court heard that he returned to the student residence near Malone Road on March 17 due to drunkenness.

The prosecution alleged that the man approached her outside and asked, “Okay, cool, do you want to keep her?”

When the woman declined her offer, the stranger said he asked to use her bathroom.

Crown attorney Fiona O’Kane claimed that she was stalked from within before being sexually assaulted on the sofa and in the bedroom, at one point, fainting.

He is also accused of stealing JPY 150 from another woman’s briefcase who lived in the apartment.

Bernie was identified by the police after examining CCTV footage and banking transactions.

Ms. Oken denied any allegations that her meeting with the woman outside the home was a “court”.

“I chased after him very quickly,” he said.

“In the prosecution’s case, this was an opportunistic crime and looting committed against a weak and isolated young woman,” the lawyer added.

Defense attorney Declan Quinn told the court that Bernie was “deeply offended” by the alleged rape.

“He thinks it was a consensus,” Quinn said.

Mr Quinn said there was no indication that his client had forcibly broken into the property.

But Judge O’Hara replied, “The assumption is that he lied in the street and said he needed a restroom.”

By granting him bail in Bern, the judge imposed conditions including curfews, electronic monitoring and a ban on alcoholic beverages.

He also agreed to the prosecution’s request that the accused leave designated student areas in South Belfast.

“Do not enter the exclusion zone with one foot,” Judge O’Hara Burn warned.

Source: Belfastlive


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