Thursday 26 April 2018

No extra jail time for sex offender who performed lewd act on river-side path

Mark Curneen was given a three-month sentence.
Mark Curneen was given a three-month sentence.

Tom Tuite

A SEX offender convicted 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, has been given a three-month sentence.

However, it is to run concurrently to a lengthier jail term he is serving for a sexual assault on another woman.

Mark Curneen (24) 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, 2011 but was found guilty on an indecent exposure charge at his Dublin District Court hearing on June 5 last.

Earlier this month Curneen was given a three-and-a-half sentence with the last two suspended by the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for a sexual assault on another young woman. In that incident, on August 14, 2010, he had dragged the victim to the ground and sexually assaulted her until she managed to fight him off.

Today he was brought before the District Court to face sentencing for the indecent exposure offence and Judge Catherine Murphy was furnished with probation and psychiatric reports on him.

Defence counsel Edel Gilligan said the 24-year-old is to be released from his current sentence in December and was asking the court not to add to his time in prison. He plans to use his time in jail productively and intends to do courses, counsel said.

Judge Murphy noted that he will be subject to strict conditions on his release and is to be supervised by the Probation Service.

She imposed a three-month term on him but ordered that it would run concurrently with his existing term in Wheatfield Prison.

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

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 Curneen's face as he passed her. She glanced back and saw his trousers were open and his “tongue was lolling around out of his mouth”.

The woman said his penis was facing upwards, “he had exposed himself, he was holding himself and stroking himself”. She said she was shocked and walked away quickly before she telephoned Irishtown garda station.

“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.

Detective Sergeant Barry Walsh brought the woman around in an unmarked Garda car to see if she could identify the man. At Lansdowne Road, near the Aviva stadium and the train station, she saw him standing at a wall and was certain that it was the same man.

In evidence, Curneen had agreed that he had been on the Dodder Walkway but claimed he had needed to go to the toilet.

Last June, Judge Murphy had heard that at that stage that Curneen, had no prior criminal convictions. She had been told he had health problems since infancy including difficulties controlling his muscles. He was diagnosed as having Joubert Syndrome. His father had told the court that this meant his son could have intellectual as well has physical difficulties.

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