A man who was yesterday acquitted of rape at the Crown Court in Derry says life has been “absolute hell” since the allegations were made.
Gerald Doherty, of Lislane Drive, had denied raping and sexually assaulting a woman on September 10, 2011.
The jury of nine men and three women heard allegations that 25-year-old Mr Doherty raped the woman in the bedroom of a city centre hotel after a staff night out.
The complainant alleged that Mr Doherty went into the bedroom following a night out socialising and committed the alleged sex offences as she drifted in and out of sleep.
However, he denied this and said the woman had initiated the sex and it was consensual.
The trial at Derry Crown Court lasted eight days and following three hours of deliberation the jury cleared Mr Doherty of the charges. They returned a majority not guilty verdict in relation to the rape and a unanimous not guilty verdict for the sexual assault charge.
As the jury read out their verdicts, Mr Doherty smiled and as he left the dock he embraced his fiancee and family.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Doherty told the ‘Journal’ the last year and a half has been “absolute hell”.
“This has had an effect on my whole family and I am relieved it is all over”.
Mr Doherty said the allegations have had a particular affect on his fiancee and young son as he has been unable to plan the future.
“We haven’t been able to plan anything because it is hard not knowing what is ahead of you. We didn’t even want to start planning the wedding”.
He revealed that he has lost jobs as a result of the allegations and was unable to commit himself to anything while the charges were hanging over him.
“Financially and emotionally it has had a huge impact on me and thanks to my legal team it is now all over and I am able to clear my name”.
However, Mr Doherty said while he is relieved that he has been acquitted of the charges he is aware that “mud sticks”.
“There are people out there who will still hold it against you but it is something I will have to get on with”.
“I want people to know that my name has been cleared”.