A woman who made a false complaint of rape was sentenced on Friday to two years on probation after a judge said she needed assistance for her mental health and addiction issues.
But Judge Patricia Smyth warned Krystal Alana Anderson that if she did not fully engage with the Probation Service she would be re sentenced and would “go into immediate custody’’.
Anderson, (27), of Glenwood Park, Dummurry, pleaded guilty in June to a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Belfast Crown Court heard that in June 2016 police received a report from Anderson that she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault.
Prosecuting lawyer Gareth Purvis told the court that Anderson claimed the man raped her in the early hours of the morning in Carrickfergus.
She was taken to Antrim Area Hospital with cuts to her arm which were later deemed to be self-inflicted.
Mr Purvis said that after Anderson named her alleged attacker, he was arrested by police and taken to Musgrave police station.
During his detention he had to undergo what the prosecutor described as a “humiliating process’’ by which “intimate testing’’ was carried out because of the nature of alleged offence.
The suspect spent a total of eight hours in custody before being released on bail.
The court was told that the following day, Anderson rang police and said she wanted to withdraw her complaint against the man and she refused to attend the Rowan Centre, a sexual assault referral centre.
But it was not until July 15, 2016, while being treated in the Ulster Hospital, that Anderson admitted to police that she had made a “false allegation of rape’’.
Asked why, she replied: “I try to push people to their limits....but I don’t know why.”
Defence barrister Sean Mullan said that Anderson had little recollection of the night as had consumed three bottles of wine.
The court was told that Anderon had a number of previous convictions and was jailed this year for disorderly behaviour and assault on police.
Passing sentence, Judge Smyth told Anderson that the victim in the case was “wholly innocent of any sexual offending towards you”.
The judge added: “It is important to state that false complaints of rape are exceptionally serious.
“Not only do they result in very distressing consequences for the person accused but in addition, false complaints of rape do a disservice to the many genuine victims of sexual violence.’’
Judge Smyth said she noted from a medical report that the defendant had a long history of “alcohol abuse and self harm” along with a “troubled life” with a number of admissions into psychiatric care and she had also been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.
The judge said the man had spent eight hours in police custody and was required to provide “intimate samples which no doubt was extremely distressing for him’’.
Anderson was sentenced in June to three months in custody for other offences and the judge said that “no doubt that period of imprisonment has been a salutary lesson to you’’.
Judge Smyth that she was sentencing to six months in prison after giving her full credit for her guilty plea.
However, she told Anderson that a further period in prison “would not allow any opportunity to deal with the underlying issues which were clearly the result of this offending”.
The judge said that all cases of perverting the course of justice should be met with immediate custody except in exceptional cases.
“But it is clear to me that there is underlying work that needs to be done to protect the public from any further incidents of this nature and indeed any further offending on your part.”
Handing down a two-year probation order, Judge Smyth told Anderson that she must fully engage with Probation Service and all recommended programmes of work to deal with her mental health and addiction issues to help reduce her risk of reoffending.
“I want to make it very clear to you that it is my view that this will protect the public and that means that if you don’t comply with all of the requirements of probation, this matter will come back to this court.
“I will be asked by probation to revoke this order and to resentence you. In that event I will impose an immediate custodial sentence,” added Judge Smyth.