Raith Rovers: Who is David Goodwillie - what did a judge rule in 2017?

As anger grows towards Raith Rovers in their signing of footballer and ruled rapist David Goodwillie, here is all you need to know about the judge’s ruling against the striker.

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 5:07 pm

In 2017 in a civil court case, Lord Armstrong ruled David Goodwillie from Stirling alongside his then-teammate David Robertson had raped a 24-year-old woman in a flat in Armadale, West Lothian in 2011.

David Goodwillie is a professional footballer, who had played for the Scotland National Team and who has played for Dundee United, Blackburn Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and more.

After the civil court case, Goodwillie resumed his career in the Scottish leagues with Clyde FC. After over four years there, he signed for Raith Rovers in January 2022.

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Raith's new signing David Goodwillie watches on during a cinch Championship match between Raith Rovers and Queen of the South at Stark's Park, on February 01, 2022, in Kirkcaldy (Photo: Euan Cherry, SNS Group).

Yet, what did the judge have to say about Goodwillie and why did he make the decision that Goodwillie and his former teammate had raped a woman?

Here is all you need to know about Goodwillie in the case.

The incident

The victim Denise Clair said that she had gone out for a drink with friend on New Year’s Day in 2011 but had no recollection of leaving the pub for a nightclub in Bathgate.

Multiple witnesses, including a member of security staff at the venue, told the court that Ms Clair ‘needed to go home’ as she could not stand up straight or speak properly.

The following morning, Ms Clair said she then found herself naked and in pain at a flat in Greig Crescent in nearby Armadale.

Weeks after the incident, after DNA evidence was obtained from swabs taken from her, it was discovered that sexual intercourse had taken place with David Goodwillie.

Both Goodwillie and Robertson admitted that sexual intercourse had taken place but said that it was consensual. However, Ms Clair said that she was incapable of giving free agreement to sex because of her alcohol consumption.

Goodwillie was arrested and charged with raping a woman in January 2011.

The striker, who was aged 21 at the time, was summoned to Livingston Sheriff Court following the charge.

Goodwillie’s former Dundee United teammate David Robertson was also questioned by police about the allegation.

Criminal charges against Goodwillie were dropped later that year after there was insufficient evidence to prosecute in a criminal court and Robertson was never charged.

Accuser Denise Clair then decided to waive her legal right to anonymity after the criminal case was dropped and decided to sue the footballers over the claims in a civil case.

Details of the incident were heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in January 2017 - six years after the rape had taken place.

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What did the judge have to say about David Goodwillie?

Here is what Lord Armstrong had to say about the evidence of the first defender, David Goodwillie:

The first defender was not an impressive witness. He also had been drinking throughout the evening. He described himself, on arrival at Chalmers nightclub, as being probably drunk, probably being not aware of what was really happening. His own estimate of his consumption was that, while at Chalmers nightclub, he had another five or six drinks and possibly some shots in addition. He described his condition on leaving Chalmers nightclub, at about 2am, as being probably really drunk.

"My impression of him was that his evidence was apparently clear on matters affecting his own interests, yet his recollection apparently faulty on matters possibly prejudicial to him.

"His clear position was that the pursuer had not been greatly affected by alcohol, that she had no difficulty speaking, was not staggering, and had consented throughout to all the sexual conduct which had taken place.

"In contrast, he had no recollection, despite standing outside Chalmers nightclub at the relevant time, of any interaction involving the nightclub’s stewards.

"He maintained that, until he entered the bedroom of the flat in Greig Crescent, he had no intention of engaging in sexual conduct with the pursuer, but was unable to explain why then he had gone to the flat at all.

"He maintained that, in the context of sexual intercourse with the pursuer, he had not known that he had ejaculated.

"Parts of his evidence were inconsistent with other evidence in the case. His evidence that there was conversation amongst the parties when in the taxi was inconsistent with the evidence of Mr McNeill, the taxi driver, as was his evidence that no-one appeared to have any difficulty in exiting the taxi on arrival in Armadale. His evidence that the second defender stopped having sexual intercourse with the pursuer because his phone was vibrating was contradicted by the second defender in evidence.

"In a number of respects, his own evidence was inconsistent with the stated position in his written pleadings: (1) his pleadings stated that in the taxi he had been sitting in the front passenger seat, whereas his evidence, contrary to that of Mr McNeill, was that he had been sitting in the rear with the pursuer; (2) his pleadings stated that he, personally, had made an arrangement with Brian Hutton to obtain access to the flat in Greig Crescent. That was consistent with what Brian Hutton had told the police, but, in his evidence, the first defender insisted that he had not personally been involved; and (3) his pleadings stated that when engaging in sexual intercourse, the second defender had been on top of the pursuer, whereas in his evidence, he stated that the second defender had penetrated her from behind.

"In a number of respects, the stated position in his own written pleadings was inconsistent with other evidence in the case: (1) contrary to his own written pleadings, the CCTV footage did not depict the pursuer and the first defender walking arm in arm; (2) his pleadings stated, contrary to the evidence of the second defender, that, once in the flat, the pursuer and the second defender had been kissing before entering the bedroom; and (3) his pleadings stated that, on entering the bedroom, he had asked the pursuer and the second defender if they were happy for him to be there, whereas the evidence of the second defender was that he, the second defender, had asked the pursuer if she was happy for the first defender to be there.

"According to Brian Hutton, the first defender had told him that he wished to use the flat at Greig Crescent because he had nowhere to stay that night. Notwithstanding that, the first defender’s own evidence was that he was unable to explain why he had gone to the flat at Greig Crescent and that, in any event, disregarding his own alcohol intake, he was happy to drive from Bathgate to Stirling, arriving home at about 5.00 am.

"My general impression of the first defender was that, particularly in relation to his assessment of the pursuer’s condition, his evidence was given with a view to his own interests rather than in accordance with the oath which he had taken. I did not find his evidence to be persuasive.”

What did the judge decide?

Lord Armstrong stated that having ‘carefully examined and scrutinised the whole evidence in the case’ he found the evidence of Ms Clair to be ‘cogent, persuasive and compelling.’

Goodwillie and Robertson were not deemed to be credible or reliable on the issue of whether they had a reasonable or honest belief that she was consenting, according to the judge.

He stated: “In the result, therefore, I find that in the early hours of Sunday 2 January 2011, at the flat in Greig Crescent, Armadale, both defenders took advantage of the pursuer when she was 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.

"In these circumstances, the pursuer having proved her case, I shall pronounce decree against the first and second defenders, jointly and severally, in the agreed sum of £100,000.

"I shall reserve, meantime, all questions of expenses.”

To read the full judgement you can click here.

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