Thursday 19 September 2019

Two men are jailed for sexually assaulting 19-year-old who fell asleep in nightclub

Two men have been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenager while she was asleep on a couch in a private room in the Wright Venue nightclub. (stock image)
Two men have been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenager while she was asleep on a couch in a private room in the Wright Venue nightclub. (stock image)

Aoife Nic Ardghail

Two men have been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenager while she was asleep on a couch in a private room in the Wright Venue nightclub.

Joshua Sykes (22) and Adam McCabe (21) both claimed they had no memory of the offence, but pointed themselves out on CCTV footage that showed them sexually assaulting the woman.

Garda Shane McGuinn said though McCabe admitted he could be seen performing a sex act on the woman, he told gardaí: "I don't know where the sexual assault was though."

He said the woman had been "well able to move around" and had been kissing him previously, but accepted that she was "drunk probably".

Sykes described the footage of him assaulting the woman as "disgusting".

He had denied taking the woman's phone and money, as shown in the CCTV, but later admitted having the items and not being able to account for them.

McCabe, a father of one of Clusker Park, Navan, Co Meath, and Sykes, of Ardlo Manor, Mullagh, Co Cavan, both pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the 19-year-old woman at the Wright Venue, Swords, Co Dublin, on a date in July 2017.

Each man had one previous conviction for minor offences.

The court heard they were attending a friend's 21st birthday party at the nightclub.

Judge Cormac Quinn said it was a "shocking case" and imposed a three-year sentence, with the final 18 months suspended, on each man.

Gda McGuinn told the court that the woman had become separated from friends while on a night out and recalled feeling "giddy and lightheaded" after a few drinks.

She told gardaí her memory was hazy, but she recalled kissing a stranger and being in a room with two males. Her next memory is crying in a room with gardaí.

In her victim impact statement read out in court, the woman said that the incident led her to self-harm as she couldn't stop thinking about what happened.

She added that she suffered panic attacks and didn't drink or socialise anymore, because it would make her cry.

Gda McGuinn agreed with barristers for McCabe and Sykes that their clients had both entered early guilty pleas.

He accepted that the men had been intoxicated on alcohol and drugs on the night.

Patrick McGrath SC, defending McCabe, submitted to Judge Quinn that his client's "shame is accompanied by deep remorse".

He said the offence was "totally out of character" and a "once-off spontaneous act" for McCabe.

Michael Bowman SC, defending Sykes, submitted that his client has been described as caring, hardworking and loyal by his former partner. Mr Bowman said Sykes had owned up and taken responsibility for the offence.

Judge Quinn noted that the woman was "a vulnerable person at the time, who was preyed upon by both accused".

He took into account the men's young ages, early guilty pleas and their co-operation with the Probation Service.

He further noted that McCabe had since been "vilified and ostracised on social media" and that Sykes had lost his job.

Irish Independent

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