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Comedian Sil Fox set to sue State over sex assault case dismissal

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Acquitted: Sil Fox is seeking an apology and damages. Photo: Mark Condren

Acquitted: Sil Fox is seeking an apology and damages. Photo: Mark Condren

Acquitted: Sil Fox is seeking an apology and damages. Photo: Mark Condren

Entertainer Sil Fox is threatening to sue the State for damages, after a sexual assault prosecution brought against him was dismissed by a judge.

Mr Fox (87) was acquitted and the case dismissed after CCTV evidence showed he had not groped a woman in a bar when she asked for a selfie.

The veteran comedian is now threatening to take legal action against the DPP, Garda Commissioner, Justice Minister, Ireland and the Attorney General, citing "wrongful actions" in directing the charge against him, according to legal correspondence.

The correspondence seeking damages and an apology, sent to all parties on Monday, states that the DPP's decision to prosecute an 85-year-old man in the public eye was "taken without reasonable or probable cause".

Any review of the CCTV evidence would have ruled out a prosecution, it states. The actions of the DPP in bringing about a prosecution were wrongful, and a "breach of his right to a good name, and infliction of emotional distress for your collective role in bringing about the unsuccessful prosecution, as well as the manner in which the charges against him were reported without restriction".

At an early hearing last July, Judge Michael Walsh refused the defence solicitor's request to impose reporting restrictions on the case, which would have given Mr Fox anonymity throughout proceedings.

His legal team say his right to privacy was not protected and he suffered serious reputational damage.

"Specifically, the claimant was denied equal protection under the law of the same right to privacy in the form of anonymity and reporting restrictions afforded to the complainant," the correspondence states.

Mr Fox walked free from Dublin District Court after he was cleared of groping a woman in Harry's On The Green in Dublin two years ago. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexually assaulting the woman on December 17, 2018 after he agreed to have a selfie photo taken with her.

The case was dismissed by Judge Paula Murphy because of inconsistencies between the woman's evidence and CCTV.

The judge said the woman had given evidence that Mr Fox touched her with his left hand while the photo was being taken and the alleged assault had lasted around 30 seconds. The footage showed his hand on the table the entire time the photo was being taken. Judge Murphy noted: "In the footage, there is no indication something untoward occurred."

Irish Independent