Finalist on RTE's The Voice sexually assaulted former colleague on night out
Published 01/08/2016 | 10:00
A former semi-finalist on The Voice of Ireland sexually assaulted a former colleague during a night out.
Alan Fitzsimons (40), was a senior product manager at Eir, formerly Eircom, on September 16 2015, when the incident took place on the dance floor at the company's rebranding launch.
Gda Kevin Lawless told Dublin District Court that there was a free bar at the event in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which was attended by some 200 Eir staff.
He said the defendant took the victim's arm, in an invitation to dance.
Gda Lawless said that Fitzsimons then groped the victim's genitals and leaned in for a kiss, which the victim avoided.
Just over two weeks later, on October 1 2015, the victim reported the sexual assault to gardai.
Fitzsimons was a semi-finalist on RTE's The Voice in 2012, and was mentored by Brian Kennedy. He was also a member of chart-topping Irish boyband, OTT, who had three top 10 singles in the 1990s.
Two witness statements were presented to the court, with one witness describing the defendant as "jovial, very drunk, but not falling over" at the time of the incident and stated the defendant "cupped his (the victim's) nuts".
Another witness described the sexual assault as occurring "within a split second", and said she believed Fitzsimons possessed "no malice or forethought".
The court heard the defendant and the victim were unknown to each other, but had mutual friends and colleagues at Eir.
During a victim impact statement the court was told that the injured party "was not on alert" and believed himself "to be in a safe environment" on the night the sexual assault took place.
The victim has suffered anxiety, headaches and disturbed sleep in the months since the incident.
Fitzsimons' lawyer told the court that the defendant wished to offer the victim both an oral and a written apology.
He said Fitzsimons, who has no previous convictions, was immediately suspended pending an internal investigation by Eir. He subsequently had his employment with the company terminated.
Fitzsimons, of Holywell Meadows, Feltrim Road, Swords, had worked at Eir for three years and told the court he has "no clear memory of the incident due to the alcohol he had taken".
He said that he was, therefore, unable to challenge the victim's version of events.
The defendant described the sexual assault as "stupid" and said he had always been respected in both his professional and personal networks, adding that he had been through a difficult time since the incident.
Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned the matter until a date in September and ordered that a probation report be completed.
"I don't want to prolong the matter unduly, but I have to be fair to both sides," he said.