Tuesday 24 October 2017

Man guilty of lewd act in Dublin 4

Tom Tuite

A MAN found guilty of performing a lewd act in front of a woman, who had been walking home from work along a river-side path in Dublin 4, is to be sentenced next month.

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 year but was found guilty of an indecent exposure charge at his Dublin District Court hearing on June 5 last.

His case had been put back for a pre-sentence probation report to be prepared and for psychiatric and neurological reports on him to be furnished to the court.

Today the court adjourned sentencing Curneen, who is on bail, until January 28 next.

In evidence given earlier, the woman had told Judge Catherine Murphy that she noticed a man wearing a white hooded top and black trousers approaching slowly from the opposite direction.

She had 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 became cautious because of a strange expression on his face. She alleged that 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 walked away quickly and then telephoned Irishtown garda station.

In cross examination with defence counsel Edel Gilligan she had said that she was 100 per cent certain that he was masturbating. “I know from the way he was holding himself, it would be hard for me to believe he was urinating,” the woman had 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 Walk 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 and the train station, she saw him standing at a wall smoking a cigarette and was certain that it was the same man.

In evidence, Curneen had claimed he had been on the Dodder Walkway and needed to go to the toilet and there was no one around. He had claimed the woman came 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 had rejected suggestions that he had been masturbating. He claimed that after drinking a cola drink he had needed to the toilet and did not know the area well.

Judge Murphy had 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.

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