Judges urged to look again at evidence in Goodwillie rape case
COURT: Counsel asks for neighbour’s testimony to be taken into account
Appeal judges have been urged to look again at evidence that led to a former Dundee United striker and his ex-teammate being labelled as rapists in a civil action.
Senior counsel for David Goodwillie argued the judge who ruled against the players in the damages action fell into error by failing to take into account testimony from a neighbour.
Dorothy Bain QC said Lord Armstrong’s treatment of the evidence from Clifford Wilson was “unsatisfactory and erroneous”.
The judge ruled earlier this year that Denise Clair was entitled to £100,000 agreed damages after ruling she had proved her case against Goodwillie and David Robertson.
He said: “I find that in the early hours of Sunday January 2 2011 at a flat in Greig Crescent, Armadale, both defenders (the players) took advantage of the pursuer when she vulnerable through an excessive intake of alcohol and, because her cognitive functioning and decision-making processes were so impaired, was incapable of giving meaningful consent; and that they each raped her.”
Goodwillie, 28, who also played for Blackburn Rovers and Aberdeen, and his former Tannadice team-mate Robertson, 31, had maintained the sex was consensual. Both have now appealed against Lord Armstrong’s decision to three judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
In his judgment Lord Armstrong had said Mr Wilson’s evidence during the case was “sufficiently confused that little reliance ought to be placed on it”.
Mr Wilson, who lived in the upstairs flat at the address at Greig Crescent, said he had heard giggling and laughing and what sounded like “normal sex” from the downstairs property.
Miss Bain said what Mr Wilson described hearing was “supportive of a consensual encounter”. She said: “The words he hears make sense in the context of what was happening.
“It is clear Mr Wilson was talking about the events of the early hours of the morning of January 2 in 2011.”
She said a fundamental error had been made that Mr Wilson had been confused that he was listening to another man. Miss Bain argued it had resulted in the judge failing to take into account important evidence which was relevant to critical issues in the action.
One of the things Mr Wilson had heard was a female saying words “consistent with her being capable of giving and indeed, withholding consent”.
Miss Clair, 31, who previously waived her right to anonymity, had gone out with a friend in Bathgate but woke the following morning naked in a house she did not recognise.
She contacted police and although an investigation was carried out no criminal prosecutions were brought. She was granted an award under the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
The hearing continues.
A judge ruled earlier this year that Denise Clair, above, was entitled to £100,000 damages after ruling David Goodwillie, top and another former Dundee United player David Robertson had raped her. Goodwillie is now appealing that decision.