Saturday 26 May 2018

Former rugby player fined €200 and given suspended sentence for festival sex assault

David Poff of Mayfield, Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan. Convicted of sexual assault.
David Poff of Mayfield, Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan. Convicted of sexual assault.

Emear Cotter

A FORMER rugby player found guilty of sexually assaulting a music festival performer by grabbing her bottom while whispering a lewd comment continues to maintain his innocence and has appealed the conviction.

David Poff (21) drunkenly groped the woman’s buttocks from behind as she walked through a crowd and told her, “give me your t**s.”

Poff, who had played for Leinster u19 and u20 and Old Wesley RFC, had denied sexually assaulting the woman at Longitude in Marlay Park, Rathfarnham on July 16, 2016.

However, the victim, in her 20s, had identified him in court and said there was “no doubt in her mind” that Poff was the culprit. She said she had felt “violated”.

Poff, from Mayfield, Lower Kilmacud Road, Stllorgan, was also found guilty of public drunkenness. He had denied the charges.

The case was before Judge Patricia McNamara for sentencing after she ordered a probation report.

Judge McNamara said Poff has a "good career and life" ahead of him, and she noted he had a supportive family and good friends. She advised him that, in her opinion, he should look into the effects of alcohol on him.

The judge fined Poff €200 and imposed a two month sentence which she suspended for one year.

During the trial, the victim told Tallaght District Court that someone grabbed her from behind. "He had a really good hold of me. He leaned over me and said ‘give me your t**s’”, she said.

“I pushed him away and said what are you at? Get your f***ing hands off me.”

She threw her drink on him and walked away. He shouted “shut the f**k up, you fat b*tch, you f**king slut.”

She saw a steward and told him what happened, then reported it to a garda, pointing out Poff.

She accepted in cross-examination there were “probably” a lot of men wearing black t-shirts as well as Poff that day.

“A very unpleasant incident may have occurred but it was not my client who was involved,” defence solicitor Tom Honan said.

“It definitely was,” she replied.

“I found him to be highly intoxicated,” Sgt Trevor Scanlon said of Poff. “He was falling into the railings, he barely knew where he was and what he was doing there.”

He arrested the defendant for his own safety and handcuffed him. In the van, Poff urinated on himself.

Mr Honan said his client continues to maintain his innocence. He said that Poff, who has no previous convictions, lost his job after he was charged.

The defendant immediately appealed the conviction.

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