Northern Ireland

Francis Airis Eliason accused of Belfast nightclub rape

A 31-year-old man has gone on trial accused of the rape and sex abuse of a woman in a Belfast nightclub.

A court heard that Francis Airis Eliason did not deny having sex with the woman in the Kremlin bar, but claimed that it had been consensual.

Mr Eliason, from Antrim Road, Belfast, denies two separate counts of rape and two of sexual assault.

The prosecution told the jury it may feel that essentially "what this case comes down to in the end, is consent".

The trial heard that the woman and a male friend had gone to the nightclub, which caters to the gay community, on 10 September, 2010.

At one stage the woman was left alone while her friend was talking to others in the bar. However, she was joined by Mr Eliason and they went to the dance floor.

While the pair danced, they kissed, and there was some sexual touching by consent, the court heard. Later the defendant suggested going for a smoke, but the girl did not want to.

However, Mr Eliason allegedly took her by the wrist and led her down a corridor and into a small cloakroom.

It was then that he allegedly raped and sexually abused her twice. The prosecution barrister said the woman would tell the court that "she did not want this to happen, but that in essence, she froze".

On returning to the main club area she found her friend and told him what had happened. Staff were alerted and police called.