Newry man who made false rape allegation avoids jail sentence

January 30, 2017

A Newry man who falsely claimed he was the victim of rape has avoided a jail sentence.

Twenty four year-old Gary Kearns from Barcroft Park, appeared in Newry Crown Court before Christmas where he admitted perverting the course of public justice by making the false allegations in October 2014.

During that hearing – one of the first cases of its kind in Northern Ireland – Judge Paul Ramsey described Kearns’ claims as “repellent allegations” against a “completely and totally innocent” victim.

In the months following his claims, Kearns not only broadcast the news locally but maintained when asked by police that “the allegation was true and he wanted to proceed with the complaint”.

During police interview, the alleged attacker refuted Kearns’ claims and directed officers to a number of possible witnesses.

When police went to update Kearns, he then advised them that he did not want to proceed with the complaint and he later admitted he had “lied about the allegation of rape”.

At his sentencing hearing on Wednesday last,  Judge Ramsey told the Newry man that he would have jailed him for 18 months were it not for his admission to perverting the course of public justice, as well as psychiatric and other reports.

Instead the Newry Crown Court judge decided that, despite Kearns “disgraceful conduct”, he was prepared to reduce his sentence to 12 months suspended for two years.

Handing over the sentence Judge Ramsey said Kearns had removed the shadow of the allegation hanging over his victim by pleading guilty to the “wholly false and wicked allegation” which had caused his victim “great distress and upset.” He added that it was now clear to everyone that Kearns’ allegations were made “without foundation” and would be forever known in the community for doing so.

The judge also paid tribute to the mother of the victim for her “articulate and moving” letter which highlighted the effect the false allegations had on her vulnerable and naive son.  She, however, slammed the sentence as too lenient, describing it a “slap on the wrist” which would give Kearns the “go ahead to do the exact thing again” while her own son is “still living a jail sentence every day because of him.”