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Judge in Sil Fox sex assault trial to see CCTV again before ruling

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Hearing: Veteran entertainer Sil Fox at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.
Photo: Collins Courts

Hearing: Veteran entertainer Sil Fox at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts

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Hearing: Veteran entertainer Sil Fox at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts

A judge is to view CCTV evidence again in the case against veteran comedian Sil Fox, who is accused of groping a woman as he had a photograph taken with her on a night out.

Judge Paula Murphy told Dublin District Court she would re-watch the video footage before deciding on a defence application to have the case dismissed.

She adjourned it and will rule on the application tomorrow.

Sylvester Fox (87) has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault on a woman at a bar in Dublin's south city centre on December 17, 2018.

Evidence for the prosecution concluded at the non-jury court earlier this year.

Defence barrister Emer Ní Chúagáin asked the judge to dismiss the case, arguing there was insufficient evidence to convict the accused.

State solicitor Alva O'Herlihy said while CCTV had been shown, the footage was grainy and unclear and "not conclusive one way or another".

She said the prosecution was not relying on this but on the evidence of the alleged victim, who had been "truthful and honest" and never resiled from her allegation.

She asked the judge to view the footage again.

Ms Ní Chúagáin said it was clear the alleged victim's recollection had been incorrect in some respects and that "causes difficulties".

She said the woman had denied she took some of the photos that were on her phone, but it was clear they were all taken on that phone and had not been sent to her by someone else.

The complainant had told a garda "if I didn't have so much weight on me, he would have touched me down there", Ms Ní Chúagáin said. 

Mr Fox, who grew up in the Liberties in Dublin's south inner city but has an address at Wellington Lawn, Templeogue, sat in the dock area while the lawyers for each side addressed the judge.

The alleged victim was also present in court for yesterday's hearing.

If the judge does not dismiss the case tomorrow, a date will need to be set for the trial to resume. It has been delayed amid ongoing court restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Fox's lawyers have sought an early date because of an "element of urgency" over his age.

During the trial, the court heard on the night of the alleged assault, Mr Fox agreed to a request for a selfie picture with the middle-aged complainant, who had been on a Christmas night out with friends.

Mr Fox was a performer popular with her parents' generation and she wanted a photo with him to show her father, she said. She tapped him on his side and he agreed.

The woman gave her phone to her friend to set up the picture as Mr Fox turned and asked if they were ready. She told him she liked a brooch of a clown he had on his jacket.

She remained seated as he leaned over. He put his right hand on the back of her chair and his left hand in front as he stood to her side, she said.

The woman claimed that as her friend said "smile", "Mr Fox proceeded to put his hand on to my lap, on to my groin and he tickled my vagina, and doing so he said, 'You will always remember where this picture was taken'."

She claimed when she confronted him, he said "you should be so lucky" and he told her "this is ridiculous, this is stupid".

The court heard Mr Fox told gardaí the woman was a liar and trying to "ruin my name".

Irish Independent