Tuesday 22 January 2019

Pensioner accused of using hearing difficulties to delay sentencing for sexually assaulting man (80s)

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

A judge accused a pensioner of using his hearing difficulties to delay sentencing for sexually assaulting a man in his 80s on a bus.

The sex assault on a Bus Éireann service last June was videoed by a third party on his smartphone, Kilrush District Court had been told.

Judge Patrick Durcan expressed his frustration that the 70-year-old is using his hearing difficulties to not engage with the Probation Service resulting in the delay in sentencing.

"This is a serious case of the two men travelling on the bus. Both are elderly and one man puts his hand down in a rather forceful and encompassing way on the private parts of the other man," he said.

Judge Durcan hit out at the accused's failure due to his hearing difficulties to engage with the Probation Services for the purposes of drawing up a probation report.

"This is not an excuse. If someone is deaf, blind or dumb there are still methods of communication.

"This man is simply trying to avoid dealing with the sentencing," the judge said.

Addressing the man's solicitor Patrick Moylan, Judge Durcan said that the man's guilty plea "didn't emerge out of thin air, it emerged out of lengthy consultation and he was able to consult with you or your colleagues".

Mr Moylan said that his client "can't hear a thing" and he had to write words on a pad yesterday for his client in court to inform him of what the judge was saying.

He said that his client "is a 70-year-old man and has never been in trouble before any time in his life".

"It is the embarrassment of this and I know there is embarrassment of the victim here as well judge - there is absolutely an appreciation of that.

"But in his 70 years, he has never been in difficulty - he is now in difficulty," he added.

Judge Durcan said that he would adjourn the case to June 19 and ordered that the accused speak to the probation officer before leaving court.

Inspector Tom Kennedy also yesterday handed in a victim impact statement in to court.

During the course of the assault on June 9 last, a passenger sitting across the aisle from the two men on the West Clare Bus Éireann service to Ennis filmed the assault on his smartphone.

Previously, Inspector Paul Slattery told the court that the video footage on the bus shows the accused starting to grope the other male alongside him and "forcibly grab the older man's genital area" outside the trousers.

The accused pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his victim at an unknown location between Kilrush and Lissycasey on the N68 route linking Kilrush to Ennis last June.

The offence was contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act.

A condition of bail is that the accused - who can't be identified by court order - is to have no contact with the injured party.

Irish Independent

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