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Friday 22 August 2014

Garda who sexually assaulted colleague walks free from court

Greg Harkin

Published 04/02/2014 | 02:30

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Garda Kevin Corby
Garda Kevin Corby

A garda who sexually assaulted and harassed a female colleague during a number of foul-mouthed tirades has walked free from court.

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Garda Kevin Corby's name will also be removed from the sex offender's register on a judge's orders, despite the convictions.

He had also been found guilty by a jury of harassing another female colleague over a 12-month period between 2010 and 2011.

One of his victims choked back tears as Judge John O'Hagan fined Corby (33) a total of €10,000 and sentenced him to 240 hours' community service.

As the sentence was handed down, Corby was hugged by his wife, while one of the female gardai could be seeing crying at the back of the courtroom.

Judge O'Hagan also ordered that Corby's name be removed from the sex offenders' register – defence barrister Peter Nolan had argued that his client's name should not be added to the register.

However Patricia McLaughlin, prosecuting, said Corby's name was automatically put on the register when the jury returned its verdict last November.

Judge O'Hagan responded: "If his name is on it, I'm ordering that it should be removed."

But the Rape Crisis Network said it was concerned that sexual harassment must be taken more seriously by the justice system. "It is really important that this type of sexual harassment is taken seriously and responded to," it said. "There are people like this man who clearly don't believe their behaviour is offensive or harmful. It's really important the criminal justice system holds that line."

Corby, from Co Leitrim, had pleaded not guilty to nine charges at his trial in October and November last year. He was cleared of five charges while a sixth charge was thrown out by the judge.

During the sentencing hearing at Letterkenny Circuit Court yesterday, Judge O'Hagan described the harassment of Corby's two female colleagues as "relentless".

Two of Corby's male colleagues had spoken to him about his behaviour, but sexual jibes and harassment continued, said the judge.

On the day of the sexual assault inside a Donegal garda station, Corby had put his victim into a chair, wheeled her into a lift, sat on top of her and rubbed himself against his victim.

'DAMAGE'

The harassment began when the female garda returned from maternity leave.

"She was only back a short time when Gda Corby started to make comments including one 'the damage is done now' in reference to her having a child," said the judge. "He was obsessed with talking about sex all the time. He was constantly making sexual innuendos."

He repeatedly called the woman 'Big Mamma', said the judge, offering on several occasions to have sex with her.

Despite being told by other male colleagues of the effects of his comments, Corby had said: "F*** them, they are well able for it".

The judge said: "He thought it was great craic; he thought he was having barrack-room banter, maybe he didn't realise the effect it was having."

In the case of the second victim, Corby had taken her mobile phone and sent rude texts to her contacts in which she appeared to be offering male friends sex.

Mr Nolan, defending, said his client had a clear record and had served as an Army reservist for several years before landing "his dream job" as a garda after applying five times.

"His career, his life and his family and his dream job, the dream job he always wanted, has now stopped. He has to face his future, it may transpire that he becomes an ex-guard. He now has to face another inquiry," said Mr Nolan.

The judge said Corby's behaviour was "terribly, terribly wrong" but that the probation report had shown a certain amount of remorse.

Irish Independent

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