AN OFFALY man has admitted to sexually assaulting a woman in a house in Waterford on the second day of his rape trial at the Central Criminal Court.
The 37-year-old had pleaded not guilty yesterday to raping the then 18-year-old woman on October 27, 2005.
This morning , following legal discussions, Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, told Mr Justice Barry White that a plea to sexual assault was now acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecution and asked that the accused be re-arraigned before the jury.
The man then pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman on the same night.
Mr Greene said that a nolle prosequi could be entered on the rape charge.
Isobel Kennedy SC, defending, asked for a sentence date in April to allow for the preparation of reports on behalf of her client. She said the gardaí had no objection to her client being remanded on continuing bail.
She asked for the case to be mentioned in two weeks because her client wanted to change the garda station he signs on at but the investigating garda was not aware if this rural station was still open.
Mr Justice White remanded the man on continuing bail and adjourned sentencing until April 22 next.
He told the jury that an allegation of rape had initially been put to the accused but now that he has pleaded guilty to a lesser offence, acceptable to the DPP, the trial is at an end.
He thanked the jurors for their service and excused them from jury duty for five years.
Mr Greene had told the jury in his opening address that it would hear evidence that the woman had woken up that night to find the man on top of her raping her.
She had been out socialising earlier in the night with him and some friends and had fallen asleep on a bed fully clothed beside him and another woman.
When she woke up, her trousers and underwear had been removed. She claimed she had not taken them off her herself.