THERE was good news for an Edenderry family this week with the news that their daughter is to have a full re-trail in Australia where she was convicted of digital rape.
Anne Marie O’Loughlin from Fann in Edenderry began her appeal against her conviction at the Court of Appeal in Brisbane last month, and received news last week that she had been successful.
She was released on bail last Friday until the re-trial which is scheduled for August 22.
Her delighted father Shay told the ‘Offaly Express’ that the family were thrilled with the news.
“We know that only 8% of appeals are successful. To get a unanimous verdict is brilliant,” he said.
Mr O’Loughlin said his daughter was in good spirits. “She is being very well looked after in Brisbane,” he said, saying there was a very active Irish community there. He said the family were very grateful for that. Mr O’Loughlin said that his son John, who is working in Australia at the moment, headed straight for Brisbane on Friday when he heard of his sister’s release.
He said the family hope to travel to Brisbane for the retrial itself. After hiring a new barrister to represent Anne Marie, Mr O’Loughlin said they were now hopeful of a successful outcome.
“We are quietly positive she will be cleared,” he said.
The 26 year old had been working as a nurse in Australia for the past two and a half years and was due to return to Ireland last December
During a five day trial in Brisbane last December a 12 man jury convicted the Edenderry woman of two counts of digital rape and one of the deprivation of liberty of a woman in the female toilets in the Caxton Hotel in Brisbane on November 29 last year.
Last February prosecutor Chris Minnery called for Ms O’Loughlin to be sentenced to three years with release on parole after she served 18 months.
Saying her behaviour was ‘completely out of character’ Damian Walsh, defending barrister asked for a sentence of nine months.
Legal representation for Ms O’Loughlin claimed at her appeal that she had not received a fair trial.
At the Brisbane Court of Appeal Jeff Hunter SC said the judge at the trial has misdirected the dury on the issue of mistaken belief of consent.
“The complainant’s inability to set out how she ended up in the cubicle with a woman she didn’t know is a significant matter,” Mr Hunter said, highlighting that the victim had never explained the origins of the offence.
He also said the victim had given the police one version and her husband another version of what had happened.
“In a case of word versus word a properly instructed jury should have had reservations about consent,” said Mr Hunter.
However, Michael Copley, SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, denied that Ms O’Loughlin had been disadvantaged by any direction given.
However the Court of Appeal unanimously agreed to the re-trial which will take place in August.