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March 17, 2007

Victim 'had consented'

From: York Press, UK - Mar 17, 2007

By Megi Rychlikova

FOUR Poles accused of gang raping a deaf woman claimed they had no idea she could not speak, a jury has heard.

Each man told Leeds Crown Court they had sex with the 37-year-old woman in St Martin's Churchyard, in Micklegate, York, early on November 13, 2005, but they all believed she had consented.

"Why should four young men, three of impeccable character, hard-working lads, come here to earn some money in a foreign country, why should all four of them, simultaneously, spontaneously, and to a man, become rapists?" asked David Hatton QC.

He was making the closing speech for Cezary Krasnopolski, 27, on the tenth day of the retrial of the four Poles.

Fellow defence barrister Graham Hyland QC, said of the sex the woman had with Krasnopolski's cousin, Marcin Rafal Legowski, 24: "It may have been rough sex, but it wasn't rape."

Krasnopolski, Legowski, and Dominik Lech Knoblauch, 22, all formerly of Lincoln Street, off Leeman Road, York, and Janusz Rucinski, 24, formerly of a hostel in Bishophill Road, all deny rape. Legowski has previous convictions in Poland for assault.

Giving the closing speech for the prosecution, Julian Goose QC reminded the jury that all four men had given evidence that they did not realise that the woman was unable to speak.

Krasnopolski had alleged that she had put her hand down his trousers, Rucinski had described her beckoning the men on and Legowski had claimed she took her own trousers off.

Mr Hyland, for Legowski, alleged that he and the woman had communication in the Reflex club and she had willingly gone with him, knowing that they would have sex.

"Maybe she consented to having sexual intercourse with him. We submit for you to consider: sexual contact with one man okay, but not with a group of them," added Mr Hyland.

There was no evidence to support her claim that he dragged her up Micklegate into St Martin's Lane into the churchyard, claimed Mr Hyland. He reminded the jury that a police van had been parked close to the lane at the time.

Earlier Mr Hatton had reminded the jury of evidence that Krasnopolski had gone back to the churchyard after the sexual incident to find the woman's hearing aid for her.

He also reminded the jury of what he said where inconsistencies in the woman's account and that she had initially claimed to a friend that the alleged rapists had followed her from a 24-hour shop in the area.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

6:37am Saturday 17th March 2007