Hairdresser Accused Of Raping Youth

A high Court judge has refused bail to a hairdresser accused of raping a 17-year-old male. Michael Joseph Diver (32) – described in court as ‘openly gay’ – is alleged to have sexually assaulted the youth in his flat in the Sackville Court area of Londonderry on March 18.

Crown lawyer Kate McKay told Belfast’s High Court that the teenager was in a “very distressed state” when he reported the alleged incident to police. The court heard the alleged injured party was drinking in the city centre with friends on St Patrick’s night before heading to a party. She said the teenager remembered leaving the party but “after this his memory is unclear”.

She said the youth recalled waking up naked in a bed in “strange surroundings” with a naked man behind him who was allegedly touching him. He got out of bed and lay on the floor where he fell asleep. When he woke up, he was being allegedly sexually assaulted by a man later identified as Diver.

The lawyer said the alleged victim vomited before leaving. On arriving home, he “told his parents what happened to him and they reported it to police “. He was medically examined and while there was no evidence of penetration, the teenager displayed cuts and grazes to his knees, back, elbows and arms.

After he told police, officers arrived at Diver’s flat and arrested him on suspicion of male rape. During interview, Diver claimed he invited the younger man into the flat as he had been standing outside with no top on but denied any physical contact. Mrs McKay told Mr Justice Morgan police objected to bail.

A defence barrister said that while his client accepted the teenager was in his flat, he denied touching him, adding: “There is no medical evidence to substantiate the charge of rape.”

Pointing out the alleged injured party’s recollection of events was ” cloudy to say the least”, the barrister said the cuts and grazes could be attributed to a fall he had when with friends.

He said Diver claimed that after inviting the teenager into his flat, the pair talked before the youth climbed into Diver’s bed where he remained in a “comatose” state until morning.

Mr Justice Morgan said there was a “reasonable argument whether there was penetration”. When told a suitable bail address could not be found, he said: “I could not commit him to bail.”