Monday 22 January 2018

Garda convicted of groping female colleagues launches appeal

Tom Tuite

A GARDA sergeant, who was convicted of sexually assaulting two female colleagues, has launched an appeal in a bid to clear his name.

Following separate trials at Dublin District Court in March this year, Garda Sergeant Martin Woods (49) received fines totalling €3,000 after he had been found guilty of sexually assaulting the two officers – while on duty – on dates in 2010.

On March 16, Gda-Sgt Woods, who had contested all charges, was convicted for twice sexually assaulting a female colleague, on dates in March and June 2010.

Three days before that, the sergeant, who has been in the force for 28 years and was attached to Tallaght station, had been found guilty of sexual assault of another woman garda also on a date in June 2010.

During his trials at Dublin District Court, one of the women had said in evidence that the first incident in March 2010 happened when she was leaning over to use a computer at a garda station.

She had said the sergeant stood behind her, then put his arms around her waist and pushed his pelvic area against her bottom and said “she likes it this way”.

A witness had also said he was pushing his lower groin area into the woman's bottom and “was gaining momentum as he was doing it”.

The officer had also said in the district court trial that on a date in June 2010, she had been on duty reading files and going through paperwork.

“He came over and put his hand to my left breast and said 'wake up there',” she had said, “I replied 'I am not asleep'.”

The second complainant had testified that the sergeant had groped her on her leg near her genital area, also in June, 2010. She had said that when she yelled out he whispered “ I'd say you're some screamer in bed” to her.

The sergeant had been spared custodial sentences and was given E1,000 fines for each of the three sexual assault counts and his lawyer had said the district court's guilty verdicts could effect his career and pension entitlements.

However, in an attempt to have the convictions overturned, he has launched an appeal which was listed for mention today before Judge Katherine Delahunt at the Circuit Court in Dublin.

The sergeant was present but did not address the court and the judge set a date in November for his appeal to be heard in relation to the conviction involving the officer who made one allegation against him.

Another date will be set later for his appeal in connection with the female garda he was found guilty of sexually assaulting twice.

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