Northern Ireland

Man 'said sorry' to alleged rape victim on Facebook

A man apologised on Facebook to his alleged rape victim, a jury has heard.

Stephen Doherty, 28, from Bush Manor in Antrim, denies raping a woman after they went home from a Belfast nightclub together.

A prosecution lawyer said on Wednesday that Mr Doherty apologised to the woman online hours afterwards.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims she was asleep during most of the attack but Mr Doherty says she consented to sex.

Mr Doherty and the woman were out separately with friends on 26 February 2011 but met in a nightclub in the city centre at the end of the night.

Four people, including Mr Doherty, decided to go back to the alleged victim's house.

The prosecution told the jury that the woman claims she was asleep when Mr Doherty started having sex with her but Mr Doherty claims she was participating.

"It is the prosecution case that this man did not give her the freedom or capacity to voice her choice (whether to have sex) because she was unconscious at the time," the prosecution lawyer said.

Mr Doherty and a friend then left in taxis but he and the woman had a Facebook conversation later that day.

He said he was "so sorry" and could not remember going in to her room.

She told him, also via Facebook, that it was a "bad dream" to her.

Mr Doherty was arrested and told police the pair had had consensual sex.

The trial continues.