Monday 22 January 2018

Man who sexually assaulted woman as she slept in her bed is remanded in custody pending sentence

Counsel said his client wished to make an unreserved apology and was deeply ashamed of himself.
Counsel said his client wished to make an unreserved apology and was deeply ashamed of himself.

Fiona Ferguson

A man who sexually assaulted a woman following a party as she slept in her bed has been remanded in custody pending sentence next January.

The 23-year-old man pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault of a woman at a Dublin house in June 2013. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Mary Brophy told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that the woman had gone to sleep in her bedroom at about 1.30am following the party and awoke later that night feeling "something weird."

The accused man was moving in to kiss her. She screamed and jumped out of bed.

Her sister came up to the room but found no one there. She went to another room and saw the accused there but suspected he was just pretending to be asleep.

The accused man was later arrested and initially told gardai that he had tripped, landed on top of the girl and she had started screaming.

The woman outlined in her victim impact statement that her life had been changed for ever in a way she had no control over. She said the idea that the safest place you could be was at home in your own bed had been taken away from her.

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned sentencing to January 8 next after commenting that the man “had acted in a totally reprehensible fashion”. He said it was “an uninvited assault” but accepted that the man was under the influence of alcohol.

He noted that he had €2,000 in court as a token of remorse and said if the victim wished to have that money he would order that it be released to her.

Gda Brophy agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that the incident had happened at about 4am in the morning and the accused man had effectively been drinking all day.

She agreed that the accused man had co-operated with gardai and that she had become aware during the interviews that he was "of limited intelligence."

Gda Brophy agreed she had been outside court while the accused man was appraised of the contents of the victim impact statement and he had broken down. She agreed he appeared to be genuinely remorseful for what he had done.

Mr Kennedy said accused man had been released without charge following his garda interviews and a few months later had left to work abroad. He had reasonable success there but as soon as he became aware he was to be charged he returned home.

Counsel said his client wished to make an unreserved apology and was deeply ashamed of himself.

He outlined a letter of apology in which the accused said he was disgusted at himself and hoped he had not caused any major hurt or distress to the victim.

Mr Kennedy said his client had little recollection of what happened and accepted the victim's account. He had entered an early guilty plea to acknowledge his wrongdoing and spare the woman the trauma of coming to court to relive what had happened.

He said the accused was fortunate to have strong family support behind him. He handed in letters from his family and said their sympathies were with the victim and her family.

Mr Kennedy said the accused man had been employed from his teenage years displaying a strong work ethic. He said he had been seeing a counsellor and was now on antidepressant medication.

He asked the court to be as lenient as possible and said the man was willing to engage in the restorative justice program to focus on righting the wrong he had done. He said the man had brought €2,000 to court with the hope it would go some way to alleviating the hurt.

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