A WOMAN was given a one-month jail sentence after she made a false allegation of rape, which the judge described as ‘the worst allegation a woman could make against a man’.
Sarah Browne, with no fixed abode but formerly of 7 Main Street, Kiltimagh, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment by Judge Fiona Lydon, with the final two months suspended. The 21 year old made the false allegation against a man on January 1, 2017, after meeting him in Westport. She later withdrew the allegation.
Sentencing Ms Browne at last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court, Judge Lydon said: “This man lost his liberty as a result of his arrest, detention and questioning. This man considers he is labelled in his community as a result of her false statement,” she said.
The matter first came before the court in July 2017 after Ms Browne was charged with giving a false statement to An Garda Síochána. Ms Browne, who was 19 at the time, made the report to gardaí in Westport shortly after the incident was alleged to have occurred outside a Westport pub in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2017. However, in a follow up statement, she withdrew the complaint, saying that she thought it was rape at the time but she did give consent.
Sentencing was adjourned on a number of occasions to allow Ms Browne to engage with the probations services. However, she missed a number of appointments and was charged with a public order offence in Kiltimagh on March 10, 2018. A bench warrant was also issued for her arrest after she failed to appear in court on one occasion.
Speaking before sentencing commenced at last week’s sitting, Ms Browne apologised for giving the false statement.
“I offer my apologies to the victim in this matter. I know what I did was so wrong,” she said while also offering her apologises to the Gardaí and the court service. “I will never make any statement like that [again] to An Garda Síochána.”
Mr William O’Connor, solicitor for Ms Browne, said he believes his client has issues that she needs to address. While accepting it was a serious case, he asked Judge Lydon to consider Ms Browne’s young age.
Judge Lydon noted that in the victim impact statement, the accused man said that he does not know whether people believe that he is innocent. She sentenced Ms Browne to three months’ imprisonment for making the false statement, but she suspended the final two months for a period of two years on the condition that Ms Browne come under the supervision of the Probation Service when she is released. Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.