The jury in the rape trial of a Donegal man has been directed to find him not guilty after the judge ruled there was deliberate tampering with the evidence.
The man had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping his ex-partner in the county on July 1, 2004.
Mr Justice Barry White told the jury he was directing them to find the accused not guilty because three forensic experts had judged that the underwear the women was wearing at the time were cut and not ripped as she claimed in her statements to gardai.
A forensic examination of the panties showed they had been cut “mechanically” with a blade and then torn the rest of the way. This view was backed up by two more forensics scientists.
The woman earlier denied in evidence that she cut her own underwear with a blade to allege her ex-partner ripped them off while raping her.
She said the cut could have happened on the washing line, in the washing machine or by jewellery either she or the accused may have worn on the night.
She agreed with the defence counsel, that the man had never used a blade or scissors during the incident.
Mr Justice White noted the woman's explanation of the cutting was not consistent with the results of the examination.
He said there were other inconsistencies in the evidence which, while not enough to acquit the accused on their own, fortified his decision to direct the jury to find him not guilty.