Sunday 24 September 2017

Man who sexually assaulted patient at Mater Private Hospital sentenced for two years

Folajimmy Awode found guilty of the sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital
Folajimmy Awode found guilty of the sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital

Declan Brennan

A man who sexually assaulted a patient while working as a care assistant at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin has received a prison sentence of two years with six months suspended.

Folajimmy Awode (31) of Ballinteer House, Tyrellstown, Dublin had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles Street in November 2013.

Last month a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court returned a majority guilty verdict after a three day trial.

Awode was working as a part-time care assistant in the woman's ward and had cleaned the toilet that evening at her request. Before going to sleep around 11pm the woman, who cannot be identified, had taken a muscle relaxant for her back.

She told the trial that she later awoke to feel rubbing on her right breast. She opened her eyes and the sensation seemed to stop. “Because of where I was, in hospital, you're just not expecting this to be the case, so I closed my eyes again,” she testified.

The sensation resumed when she once again closed her eyes. She then turned over and saw Awode standing by her bed and moving his hand away from her body.

“I looked at him. He looked totally stunned and just took off,” she said.

Another patient in the ward told gardai that she was sitting up reading and saw Awode coming into the ward twice and leave again. She said after she had turned her reading light off and lay down to sleep she saw Awode come into the ward a third time and go to the bed of the injured party.

Judge Patricia Ryan said there was an element of planning and pre-meditation to the crime. She said the breach of trust was another aggravating factor.

“She was a patient. She had taken sleeping medication. She was either asleep or trying to go to sleep,” Judge Ryan said.

She suspended the last six months of a two year prison term and placed Awode on the Sex Offenders' Register. Judge Ryan said that she had to consider his previously good employment record and the extra hardship of custody on someone who is not from this country.

The father of two has two previous convictions for dangerous driving and having no insurance. He previously worked for Eagle Eye Security and had done work experience in St Mary's Hospital in the Phoenix Park. He had worked at the Mater for three years before this incident.

Michael Hourigan BL, defending, handed in a testimonial from Awode's widowed sister who said he is a tremendous help to her and her children. Counsel said he came here from Nigeria at the age of 17 seeking asylum and was later granted residency.

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