Anne-Marie O’Loughlin, 26-year Irish nurse accused of a digitally raping a woman in the toilets at Brisbane’s Caxton Hotel on November 29 2009, is expected to walk free after all criminals charges against her had now been “formally withdrawn.’’ The complainant, a 34-year woman who has not been identified and is understood to be battling cancer, made the decision to withdraw the charges over the past few days.
O’Loughlin, who came to Brisbane in 2008 and worked as a nurse at the Mater Hospital, was found not guilty of a fourth charge of sexual assault.
She was jailed for 2 1/2 years with a release date in March next year.
A four day trial heard O’Loughlin attacked the woman in the female toilets of the hotel where she digitally raped the woman.
The woman told a jury that although she kissed O’Loughlin in the toilets for up to three minutes, she had not given consent for O’Loughlin to pull up her top and bra and touch her breast.
She further claimed she had not consented to being digitally penetrated by O’Loughlin.
However, O’Loughlin appealed on the grounds the verdicts were unsafe and unsatisfactory and the judge misdirected the jury on a key issue.
In the Court of Appeal, Jeff Hunter,SC, said the jury asked for a direction on how it could use intoxication when resolving the issue of mistaken belief.
The judge gave an incorrect direction and the jury was given a written version of it which would have complicated the matter.
In a unanimous judgment the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, set aside the convictions and ordered a new trial. And luckily for O’Loughlin, the complaintant withdrew her complaint, dropping all charges.
Mr O’Loughlin said: “The solicitor rang my daughter and she rang me at ten to midnight last night and said that the person had dropped the charges.
“It will be confirmed tomorrow in the court. Then she can get her passport back and book her flights. We are very relieved. It’s wonderful. She was quite emotional but delighted.”