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17 January, 2017

Woman successful in damages claim following allegations of rape

Ampersand’s Simon Di Rollo QC acted for a woman who has been successful in a claim for damages arising from allegations that she was raped by two professional footballers, on the basis that she was incapable of giving “free agreement” because of the effect of alcohol. She has been awarded £100,000 damages after she was found to have proved her case.

Lord Armstrong ruled that both Scotland international David Goodwillie and his former Dundee United teammate David Robertson took advantage of the pursuer when she was “vulnerable through an excessive intake of alcohol” and that they each raped her. The pursuer claimed damages from Goodwillie (first defender) and Robertson (second defender) on the basis that in the early hours of 2 January 2011 they both committed the common law wrongs of sexual assault and rape against her.

Simon Di Rollo, QC, senior counsel for Ms Clair, said:

“It was incredibly brave of Ms Clair to have brought the action, in which, unlike in a criminal case, she did not enjoy anonymity.

“The case illustrates the importance of the 2009 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act which clearly spells out that free agreement to sexual activity cannot be given while a person is incapable because of the effect of alcohol. The Court accepted that Ms Clair was incapable and that anyone dealing with her would have known that.   “Ms Clair was able to vindicate herself only because of the availability of legal aid, and it shows how vital it is in a modern society that the civil courts should be accessible.

“I am grateful that the police investigation was so thorough and that the evidence was preserved, allowing the case to proceed.”

The written Opinion of Lord Armstrong can be viewed here.

Simon Di Rollo QC of Ampersand acted for the pursuer. Ampersand’s Dorothy Bain QC acted for the first defender.

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