A spurned lover whose cry of rape against an innocent man cost police £10,000 has been jailed for nine months.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Lisha Tait claimed she had been sexually assaulted after being given the “cold shoulder” in a Belfast nightclub by a man she had a previous liaison with.
The 22-year-old, from Laurel Lodge in the Flush Gardens area of Lisburn, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The charge relates to making a false report and two false written statements to police on dates between July 6 and August 15, 2013.
Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said the series of events began in the early hours of July 7 last year when police received a call from the Ambulance Service in relation to a distressed woman.
Tait was taken to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Antrim where she was examined and made a formal complaint claiming a man she knew had raped her at billboards outside the Odyssey.
Mr Jenkins said that on August 13 last year, Tait made a written statement claiming the man had spoken to her in the Beach Club before grabbing her and sexually assaulting her outside.
The court heard that on September 4, the accused attended a police station voluntarily, where he was questioned for around two hours.
He admitted he had spoken to her in the club but said he didn’t leave the premises and denied her allegation.
He also told police they had “been together consensually that week”.
The prosecutor said the man gave a DNA sample, and that during the police investigation – which amounted to £10,000 – officers examined CCTV footage which showed Tait exiting the Odyssey alone in an intoxicated state and leaving by herself in a taxi.
Tait was again interviewed by police and on September 16 she said she wanted to “tell the truth.”
Mr Jenkins said the following day Tait made a statement to police confirming that she made the story up “on the basis that the man had given her the cold shoulder in the club”.
The prosecutor said Tait had expressed remorse and apologised for wasting police time. Defence barrister Mark Farrell cited the incident as “tragic”, telling the court “this is a case of a woman scorned”.
Mr Farrell said that despite an innocent man “feeling the full weight of a police interview”, he bore “no harm or ill will” to Tait.
The barrister also spoke of Tait’s alcohol and mephodrone misuse, saying that despite being from a stable family background, his client led “something of a chaotic lifestyle” over the last number of years.
Lisha Tait cried rape against a man she met in the Beach Club at the Odyssey in July 2013. The 22-year-old claimed she was grabbed and pulled outside where she was attacked. However, a police investigation found CCTV footage of her leaving the complex alone in a taxi. The police investigation, which cost £10,000, also established that the accused did not leave the nightclub. Tait later admitted that she made the story up.