News In Focus
Woman wins £100,000 damages in footballer rape civil case
A woman who alleged that she was raped by two professional footballers has been awarded £100,000 damages in a civil action in the Court of Session.
Lord Armstrong held that the pursuer, DC, was entitled to the agreed sum after finding on evidence led thatn Scotland international David Goodwillie and his former Dundee United teammate David Robertson had had intercourse with the pursuer when she was “vulnerable through an excessive intake of alcohol” and incapable of giving meaningful consent, and that they each raped her.
The Crown had previously decided not to prosecute due to an insuffiency of evidence for conviction at the higher criminal standard.
The incident took place in the early hours of 2 January 2011 after the three had met among a group who had been out drinking in Bathgate the prevous evening. The pursuer recalled Robertson placing a drink in front of her, but was unable to remember anything else from that time until the following morning when she awoke to find herself naked in a flat in Armadale which she did not recognise.
She maintained strongly that she would not have consented to have sex with the two defenders, who each admitted intercourse but claimed that it was consensual.
Lord Armstrong held on the basis of forensic findings as to the pursuer’s blood alcohol level, eyewitness evidence of the pursuer's condition and the amount she had drunk, and the evidence of a consultant psychiatrist specialising in harm related to alcohol, that she had proved her case. He considered neither defender to be credible or reliable on the issue of reasonable or honest belief.
The judge concluded: "I find that it has been proved that the pursuer’s impaired cognitive functioning and general condition of intoxication was so obvious and manifest that the defenders must have been aware that she was not capable of meaningful consent, and that neither of them could have had a reasonable belief that she was. In relation to the alternative position submitted for the first defender in this regard, I consider that, on the evidence which I accept, the pursuer’s condition must have been so apparent that the possibility of an honest but mistaken belief does not arise.
He added: "I note, in passing, that it was taken from both defenders that, in relation to the events in the flat at Greig Crescent, at no time had the pursuer said 'No'. That, however, in a case of this sort, could never be determinative.
"The current state of the law, having regard to the modern defined meaning of consent in this respect, is such that its value is that it sends a clear signal that anyone dealing with someone who is intoxicated is put on notice that that person may not be able to give consent no matter what she says or does... In that regard, I have found on the balance of probabilities that both defenders culpably ignored what, on the evidence, were clear indicators that the pursuer was not capable of meaningful consent, and instead deliberately took advantage of the situation in order to sexually assault her."
Click here to view the opinion.