Friday 23 August 2019

Man charged with sexually assaulting teenage girl on hospital ward told gardai he only 'shook her hand', court hears

Cork University Hospital
Cork University Hospital

Ralph Riegel

AN ELDERLY man charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl on the hospital ward they were sharing told Gardaí he had only "shook her hand."

The 17 year old girl alleged that she was awoken at around 5am on a ward in Cork University Hospital (CUH) last year when she claimed she felt her private parts being touched.

Gardaí were told the girl had been asleep but was awoken when she alleged she felt both her breasts and vagina being touched.

The 62 year old man, when cautioned by Gardaí about the disputed incident, replied: "I did nothing to that girl - I just shook her hand."

It was stated the man was sharing the hospital ward with the teen at the time.

Judge Olann Kelleher was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had consented to the matter being dealt with at Cork  District Court only on the basis of a guilty plea.

However, defence solicitor Eddie Burke informed the court he was requesting the book of evidence in the matter.

Gardaí said that, on this basis, further directions from the DPP would now be required and asked Judge Kelleher to adjourn the matter.

The matter was adjourned to July 29 for mention and will then be further adjourned to September 16.

The DPP had previously indicated that, without a guilty plea, the matter must be dealt with by judge and jury before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Evidence of arrest, caution and charge was previously given by Detective Garda Caroline Keogh.

Judge Kelleher heard a brief outline of the matter to determine whether he would accept jurisdiction in the case.

Garda Keogh told the court the defendant vehemently denied the incident complained of - insisting he had merely shook the girl's hand.

The teen alleged she had been sexually assaulted on the CUH ward she had been sharing with the 62 year old man.

She alleged that, around 5am on May 14 2018, she was awoken from sleep in her hospital bed by the incident complained of.

The defendant was remanded on continuing bail to appear again before Cork District Court on July 29.

He must sign on once a week at a garda station in Co Cork.

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