Man cries in court over acquittal

Published Friday, 23 May 2014
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There were unprecedented scenes in Belfast Crown Court on Friday when a man cleared of sexual assault sobbed uncontrollably, got down on his knees and thanked a jury for giving him his life back.

Man cries in court over acquittal
Mr Edaghese was arrested in October 2012, but always denied the charges. (© UTV)

Branding the not guilty verdict as "justice for a black man", Augustin Edaghese clasped his hands under his chin, and from his knees told the jury: "Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have given me my life back. I thought I had lost my life."

And in reference to the time he has spent in custody, a sobbing Mr Edaghese said: "20 months, 20 months ... I have done nothing wrong."

Mr Edaghese, 31 and from Monagh Crescent in Belfast, had initially faced two charges in relation to a claim made by a young Belfast woman, who alleged that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by the man she knew as Jason Banks.

The woman claimed that after meeting Mr Edaghese in a Belfast nightclub following contact on Facebook, he promised her a modelling contract.

During a trial held this week at Belfast Crown Court, the 23-year-old said that after meeting in the nightclub, she and Mr Edaghese then met in a city centre hotel on 21 November, 2011.

She told the jury that he brought her to a house in the University area of the city, where she believed he drugged her drink.

The woman also claimed that she woke up to find Mr Edaghese on top of her with her jeans around her knees.

When she reported the incident to police, a urine sample was taken and subsequently analysed for both illicit and illegal drugs including the 'date rape' drug GHB, none of which were found.

Mr Edaghese has always protested his innocence, claiming that after both he and the complainant drank several shots of brandy in the bedsit, he smoked a cannabis joint then fell asleep.

When he woke up, the young woman was gone.

Mr Edaghese was arrested in October 2012 and subsequently charged with administering a substance with sexual intent, and sexual assault - however during the second day of the trial, Judge David McFarland ordered the jury to find Mr Edaghese not guilty of the administering charge.

After deliberating the second count, the jury returned a majority 'not guilty' verdict of sexual assault, prompting Mr Edaghese to drop to his knees, sob uncontrollably and thank the jury.

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Seamus in belfast wrote (159 days ago):
Too many people accusing people of the must heinous crimes but yet remain anonymous, while the person found innocent is blackened for life. Where ever these innocent individuals go there will always be someone who does not believe their innocent, Sad. People who make heinous false allegations should be brought the court plus named.
John in Lurgan wrote (159 days ago):
why is the woman who made these wrongful allegations not hauled before the Courts & given a custodial prison sentence???? An absolute disgrace!!!
M in Belfast wrote (159 days ago):
If there were no substances found in the womans body, why was this man even charged with administering them? False accusations make it harder for real victims.
justice? in Bangor wrote (160 days ago):
The tests showed that there were no drugs in her system when she made the initial allegation, makes me wonder why the case even got to court.
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