Saturday 18 November 2017

Man found guilty of masturbating in front of woman on D4 river side walk

Tom Tuite

A MAN with a rare neurological disorder has been found guilty of masturbating in front of a woman who had been walking home from work along a river-side path in Dublin 4.

Mark Curneen (23) of Marlfield Gardens, Johnstown Road, in Cabinteely, Dublin, suffers from Joubert Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which affects the part of the brain which controls balance and co-ordination.



He had denied exposing his genitals and masturbating, at the Dodder Walkway, in Dublin 4, on August 25 last.



The woman told Judge Catherine Murphy at Dublin District Court today that she noticed a man wearing a white hooded top and black trousers approaching slowly from the opposite direction.



She said Curneen had his hood pulled up but she could see his face and his hands were down around his pelvis region, underneath the pockets of his top.



She told Judge Murphy that she became cautious because of a strange expression on his face. Curneen passed her and she glanced back and saw his his trousers were open and his “tongue was lolling around out of his mouth”.



The witness said his penis was facing upwards, “he had exposed himself, he was holding himself and stroking himself”.



She said she was shocked and alarmed as she quickened her pace; she walked away and telephoned Irishtown garda station.



In cross examination with defence counsel Edel Gilligan she said that she was 100 per cent certain that he was masturbating. The witness rejected suggestions by the defence counsel that Curneen had been urinating. “I know from the way he was holding himself, it would be hard for me to believe he was urinating,” the woman told the court.



Judge Murphy heard that Garda Shane Hogan arrived at the scene a few minutes later and spoke to Curneen who was still on the Dodder Walkway until he was cautioned to leave the area.



Detective Sergeant Barry Walsh brought the woman around in an unmarked Garda car to see if she could identify the man who had exposed himself.



At Lansdowne Road, near the Aviva stadium, she saw him and was certain that it was the same man.



In evidence, Curneen agreed that he had been on the Dodder Walkway but thought the woman had been jogging and wearing sports clothes. He said that he had needed to go to the toilet and thought there was no one around.



He said the woman came running down the path and he closed his zip adding that he felt embarrassed and had not intended that anyone would see him.



When questioned by State's solicitor Mary Kate Halpin he denied that he had been masturbating. He claimed that after drinking a cola drink he had needed to go the toilet and did not know the area well.



Judge Murphy found him guilty and heard that Curneen, who has no prior criminal convictions, had health problems since infancy.



He had difficulties controlling his muscles, did not learn to how to walk until he was aged six and has attended physical and occupational therapy. For years experts could not establish the exact cause of his problems but following a CAT scan four years ago, he was diagnosed as having Joubert Syndrome. His father told the court that this meant his son could have intellectual as well has physical difficulties.



Judge Murphy adjourned sentencing until a date in October and asked for a pre-sentence probation report to be prepared and also for psychiatric and neurological reports on him to be furnished to the court.



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