Friday 15 December 2017

Lecturer in bat-sex row takes fight to High Court

Tim Healy

A UNIVERSITY lecturer has taken court proceedings in a bid to quash a high-profile complaint of sexual harassment made against him.

The complaint against University College Cork (UCC) lecturer, Dylan Evans, emerged in the recent 'sex life of fruit bats' controversy.

The college carried out an investigation earlier this year into a complaint by school of medicine colleague Dr Salerno Kennedy of sexual harassment by Dr Evans (43) after he allegedly showed her an article on oral sex by fruit bats.

The investigators upheld the complaint in accordance with the college's 'Duty of Respect and Right to Dignity' policy on February 11 last, Dr Evans says in his proceedings before the High Court.



Allegations

But he says he was denied a legitimate expectation that his academic freedoms would be properly respected, that he would be afforded a fair hearing, and the right to challenge the allegations against him.

In his application to the court for a judicial review seeking to quash the February finding, Dr Evans, a behavioural science lecturer, is also seeking to quash sanctions, including a period of monitoring of him, imposed after that investigation.

Alternatively, he wants a declaration from the court that the February finding is outside the powers of the college. He is also seeking a prohibition on the college from continuing with disciplinary proceedings initiated against him.

He also wants a stay on any determination by a college committee that was set up on March 23 to deal with disciplinary matters concerning him.

He claims the February finding and the refusal to reconsider his case are severally incompatible with his rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Counsel for UCC yesterday asked Mr Justice John Hedigan to adjourn the matter because opposition papers had only just been filed. The judge agreed to adjourn the case to July 16.

Last May, Dr Evans told the Irish Independent that UCC had initiated fresh disciplinary proceedings against him because of his "apparent involvement" in allegedly disclosing confidential information to the media -- a claim he strenuously denied.

That information allegedly included Dr Kennedy's written complaint against Dr Evans.

In it, she complained about Dr Evans's behaviour towards her, which, she said, led to him showing her an article about the sex life of fruit bats in November 2009. She said it was not the first time he had raised sexual subjects with her.

College investigators rejected her claims about the period prior to November, but upheld the complaint about the fruit bats article.

Irish Independent

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