Saturday 7 December 2019

Man jailed after 'forcibly groping' woman in Temple Bar

Bryan Doherty of Ashington Close, Navan Road who pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
Bryan Doherty of Ashington Close, Navan Road who pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Tom Tuite

A Health and Safety officer, who put his hand under a woman’s skirt and forcibly groped her as she walked through Temple Bar, has been jailed for six-months.

Bryan Doherty, 36, from Co. Mayo but who has an address at Ashington Close, Navan Road, Dublin, followed the woman before he put his hand under her skirt, grabbed her forcibly and then walked away. He was identified from pictures taken by the woman immediately after the attack.

He had apologised and pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to sexually assaulting her at Cope Street at about 7.30pm on June 22 last.

He was remanded in custody on Friday by Judge O’Shea who wanted to watch the CCTV evidence and read the statements prior to sentencing.

Today, Judge O’Shea praised the woman for her “great bravery and fortitude” by taking a photo of him which was a valuable piece of evidence.

He also noted Doherty had not made admissions in his three-hour Garda interview but had claimed he slapped the woman on her behind after he mistakenly thought she was another lady he knew from school. He had also denied putting his hand underneath her skirt and claimed she was wearing trousers, when he was questioned.

The judge said he could impose a sentence of one year. He noted the early guilty plea but added that he was “struggling to add significant weight to the apology”. However, he also noted the man had no prior convictions for anything of this nature and the judge said it was out of character and important he had not come to Garda attention since.

Det Garda Brendan Nolan had told the court a lone female was walking home from work through Temple Bar when she was approached from behind by a male who was not known to her. She had her headphones at the time.

The young woman told gardai that the man “reached under skirt and grabbed inside her underwear”. She told Det Garda Nolan said the woman reported that the area the man grabbed was beside the vagina area.

The investigating garda said the woman turned around in fright and “this male proceeded to walk past hear and the injured party followed the male and managed to take photographs of this male”. A print-out of one of the photos was handed in the judge who said it was clearly and undeniably the accused.

Judge O’Shea heard Doherty was identified from the photos by a previous employer who assisted gardai in their inquiries. Gardai also obtained video evidence from the area and the footage captured the entire incident, the court was told.

The victim was present for the hearing but not required to give evidence but the young woman had provided the court with a victim impact statement. Judge O’Shea noted from her statement that she recalled Doherty had “forcibly grabbed” her. In her statement she said that he grabbed her buttocks after he reached underneath her skirt, the judge said today.

Afterwards she was “continually looking over my shoulder” and had experienced moments of anxiety and panic. It had impacted on her day-to-day life and relationships and she felt “violated, vulnerable and angry”, the court was told. She had thought about it incessantly and “I thought what might have happened if it was night-time or a more secluded area” and it had affected her ability to trust new people.

The court heard Doherty had not come to attention since and had abided by bail terms set down earlier. He had six prior convictions for motoring offences which resulted in fines and road bans, including two counts of attempting to drive while over the alcohol limit.

Defence solicitor Brian Keenan said he was instructed to convey his client’s sincerest apology and it had been “a moment of madness” and Doherty could not remember the incident because he had a lot of drink taken.

Judge O’Shea noted from the man’s statement that he had no recollection of the incident and had drank five or six pints.

The defence solicitor also said Doherty had an alcohol addiction but has been attending counselling.

He said he had concerns for his client’s mental state asked the judge to note that his client had entered a guilty plea at an early stage.

He had been the victim of an assault in which he suffered a broken jaw and when he was called by gardai to come to Pearse St Garda station he thought it was in relation to that investigation.

In the event of an appeal of the sentence, bail was set at €500.

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