Tuesday 16 January 2018

Girl was groped by paramedic during first-aid test, court told

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Gordon Deegan

A HSE paramedic sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl in a school classroom when showing her the Heimlich manoeuvre, a court has heard.

At Ennis Circuit Court, a woman from east Clare told a jury the paramedic and Civil Defence instructor put his hand inside her shirt and her bra and "cupped" her breast when showing the manoeuvre in 2009.

The 34-year-old Co Clare man denies the charge of sexual assault. Counsel for the State Philip Rahn BL said that during the course of the assault, it is the State's case the man "groped" her breast.

In the case, the then-15-year-old was undertaking a Civil Defence First Aid course and dressed in her school uniform during the exam for the course. She told the court the accused "cupped" her breast.

She said: "He touched my breast. I was shocked. I froze."

Now a mother, the woman said: "I don't think it is an appropriate thing for any 15-year-old to have that done to them. I don't think any 15-year-old would feel OK with that."

She said that she just stood back after the man groped her breast and the instructor stepped back as well. She said: "We quickly went on to the written exam. It was very rushed. He told me all the answers as if he just wanted to get me out of the room. I didn't mind because I wanted to get out too."

The woman said she told a friend about the incident the next day at school. In her evidence, the woman's friend said the complainant told her the instructor "touched her in a way that she didn't want him to touch her".

Under cross-examination from counsel for the accused, Mark Nicholas SC, the complainant said she is "100pc sure of what occurred".

The woman told the court: "I get no gain from being here right now." The State completed its case yesterday and the trial is expected to conclude today.

Irish Independent

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