Thursday 29 September 2016

Social welfare officer found not guilty in Sligo oral sex case

Published 26/07/2016 | 21:23

Andrew Gilmartin
Andrew Gilmartin

A SOCIAL welfare worker has been found not guilty of coercion in a case where it was alleged he sought a sex act from a woman in return for getting her out of trouble.

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In Sligo Circuit Court Judge Keenan Johnson directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty of coercion.

He ruling that the prosecu­tion had not established that the complainant had been in­timidated.

He stressed that he was mak­ing no determination on the truthfulness of either the ac­cused, Andrew Gilmartin or the complainant, Martha Rooney.

She had alleged that the defendant asked her for her oral sex in return for her not being prosecuted for fraud, during an interview at the social welfare offices in Sligo on April 9, 2014.

Ms Rooney wept as Judge Johnson delivered his ruling. Mr Gilmartin said he would be making no comment as he left the courthouse.

Judge Johnson told the jury that the prosecution had to prove that there was intimidation of the complainant by Andrew Gilmartin, of Drumfad, Grange, Co Sligo.

“I am satisfied that she was distressed and upset, but there is no evidence that she was frightened or overawed,” said the Judge, pointing out that Ms Rooney had the presence of mind to unlock the inter­view room door, and to tell Mr Gilmartin that she had taped the interview – even though she had not.

He said these were “hardly the actions of a person who was frightened or overawed”.

Ms Rooney – of Colleary Drive, Sligo – had told the court that she attended the social welfare offices after getting a letter about the fact that she had been working while claim­ing lone parent’s allowance.

She said that the accused had become angry after she admitted that she was also attending the National Learning Network, had asked her what she would do for him, and had said: “Here’s what’s going to happen – you are going to give me a b*** j**.”

Judge Johnson said that given Ms Rooney’s evidence that she had been “economical with the truth” when filling in her lone parent’s allowance form, and given the absence of corroboration, a jury could not but have a reasonable doubt and would therefore have to return a not guilty verdict.

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