December 11, 2019
Sinn Féin Bill to tackle reference to clothing in sexual offences trials

Sinn Féin have today published the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019 to tackle use of references to the clothing of the complainant in sexual offence trials.

The Bill, co-sponsored by Martin Kenny TD and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, will also ensure that there are greater safeguards relating to sexual history introduced.

Speaking today, Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said:

“A little over twelve months ago, it was reported that in a rape case in Cork the defence lawyers introduced as evidence a thong belonging to a 17 year old complainant.

“It was appalling, indefensible and was a strategy which clearly implied that the victim was to blame.

“The dreadful approach taken by the defence team in this case rightly drew criticism here and internationally.

“It was clear proof that there are not adequate protections for victims of rape and to prevent this kind of behaviour, which has no evidential value, when they appear before the courts.

“It is as a consequence of this, that myself and my colleague Martin Kenny TD have sought to fix this clear failing in the law.”

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Deputy Martin Kenny said

“The deeply traumatic and difficult experience of many complainants is a huge contributor to the fact that rape is so under-reported. We need to radically change that experience.

“The use of clothing or past sexual history as part of a defence strategy is used to imply consent on the part of the complainant and attack their character.

“This legislation ensures that it will not be possible to introduce either clothing in evidence, unless the Judge is sure that to not allow it would mean the defendant could not get a fair trial. 

“Where an application is made by the defendants legal team to allow either clothing or sexual history as evidence, then the complainant shall have legal representation at any hearing for such an application.

“I believe this would address the instance of the case in Cork and would be a significant step forward in tackling victim blaming strategies in court.”

Follow us online

Latest Tweets

I’m Daithí Doolan & I’m the @sinnfeinireland European election candidate for Dublin, this is my personal story and why I will be a MEP who will stand up for communities, for ordinary workers and families, for Dublin and for Ireland.

Change starts here.

I was honoured to deliver the 2024 Graduation Speech at Westfield State University and speak directly to all of the young people who are about to embark on new, exciting chapters in their lives.

Our young people in Ireland and right across the world are inspirational and gives

€460,000 is not affordable housing!

This government is out of touch and out of ideas.

Sinn Féin will fix the housing crisis and deliver homes that ordinary people can afford to buy and rent.

Change starts with the local and European elections, on June 7th vótáil Sinn Fein!

Hosting the 2028 European Football Championships in a world-class Casement Park presents our island and economy with an unprecedented opportunity.

It will be an enormous boost to our local economy and an epic opportunity to really show the world everything that is great about

Load More