Monday 20 January 2020

Garda is found guilty of second sex assault

Tom Tuite

A GARDA sergeant -- who has been found guilty of sexual assault for a second time in a week -- groped a young female colleague before telling her: "I'd say you're some screamer in bed."

The sergeant, who was fined €1,000, had grabbed her leg near her genital area, and whispered the remark after she screamed in shock, Dublin District Court heard yesterday.

The sergeant, whose 28-year career is in now tatters, is facing the sack and risks losing his pension, the court was told.

He had denied sexually assaulting the woman at a garda station in Dublin on a date in June 2010, but was found guilty following a non-jury trial.

Reporting restrictions had been imposed earlier to protect the identity of the victim.

It was the second time in a week that the accused was found guilty of sexual assault and will be sentenced this Friday for groping a female probationer garda on two occasions in 2010.

The sergeant, who did not give evidence wept and hugged his partner in the public gallery after Judge Timothy Lucey delivered a guilty verdict.

"There is no reason that can be attributed to it apart from indecency in my view," the judge said. However, he added that it was not a jailing offence.

Judge Lucey gave the sergeant three months to pay the fine, otherwise he will be face a five-day jail sentence.

In evidence, the female officer told the court she had to put a digital camera in a docking station in a wall-mounted cabinet in the sergeant's office.

The cabinet was located behind his desk and she moved into a two-foot gap behind him.

She did not want to disturb him and leaned towards the cabinet as he sat facing forward while he worked on a computer.

The sergeant then "raised his right arm and grabbed me on the inner upper thigh of my right thigh", she said.

She thought he gripped her for about 30 seconds as she hopped on one leg and "screamed at the top of my voice".

The officer said she then struck her superior before running to the public office where she "froze".

Scream

The officer told the court the sergeant followed her, before saying: "I'd say you are some screamer in bed," as she asked a colleague if he heard her scream. Choking back tears, she told the court: "To think that a sergeant is someone you can trust, can do this to you."

A few hours after the incident, the sergeant apologised, which she said she accepted because she wanted him to "go away from me".

Two other gardai heard her scream but they did not see what had happened. One said she looked "distressed" and "gobsmacked" and the sergeant came from his office and whispered something to her.

Breffni Gordon, defending, asked the judge to note that this conviction will result in his client losing his job and pension at a stage when he was on the verge of completing his garda service. Mr Gordon added that the 49-year-old sergeant was supported in court by his family, was well liked and very popular.

Irish Independent

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