Tuesday 15 October 2019

St Patrick's Day reveller groped bar worker after asking her to marry him

Guilty: Diogo Abbass de Cerqueira was convicted
Guilty: Diogo Abbass de Cerqueira was convicted
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A St Patrick's Day reveller sexually assaulted a Dublin bar worker by groping her, after asking her to marry him.

Diogo Abbass de Cerqueira (30) left the young woman traumatised when he grabbed her between her legs as she collected glasses in a crowd outside a busy city centre pub.

The accused, an engineer and "educated, middle-class young man" from Brazil, denied intentionally touching the victim, saying he was drunk and must have accidentally fallen against her.

Convicting him but sparing him jail, Judge John Hughes said the assault followed "light, harmless banter".

He said the fact that it happened during St Patrick's Day celebrations did not make it "acceptable drunken behaviour".

"There are no circumstances in which it can be acceptable for a person, intoxicated or otherwise, to sexually assault another," he said.

The judge gave de Cerqueira a four-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay €2,500 in compensation.

The accused, of Capel Street, Dublin 7, had denied sexually assaulting the woman on St Patrick's Day this year. The victim, a student, was working outside the bar when she first encountered de Cerqueira, who was leaning against a wall, drinking from a can of Red Bull.

"He came up to me and said 'oh, you are gorgeous, will you marry me?'" she said.

"In typical Irish humour, I said, 'ah yeah'.

"He said 'when', he said he was going back on the 5th of May. I said 'the 4th of May'."

She returned to collecting glasses and saw there was "an attempt to follow me".

Later, he was outside again as she collected glasses.

"He came towards me, he cupped his hand and touched me down below," she said.

"I pushed him away, I said 'get the f**k off me, and don't f**king touch me'."

She saw him slouching and "didn't think he was fully there". She told her manager who called passing gardaí.

A co-worker said the victim was crying, "really pale and couldn't stop shaking", so she gave her chocolate "for the sugar".

A garda said the accused was slumped against the wall and he arrested him for being drunk. De Cerqueira became "a deadweight" and help was needed to move him.

In interview, the accused said he recalled talking to the victim and making a joke but did not remember touching her.

"This had a massive impact on my mental health," the victim told the court.

On condition of the suspension, the accused must undergo probationary supervision for six months and stay away from the victim.

Irish Independent

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