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Woman claims comedian Fox groped her as they posed for photo on night out

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Syl Fox denies groping the woman at a Dublin bar. Photo: Collins Courts

Syl Fox denies groping the woman at a Dublin bar. Photo: Collins Courts

Syl Fox denies groping the woman at a Dublin bar. Photo: Collins Courts

A woman has claimed she was groped by comedian Syl Fox when she asked to have her photo taken with him.

Sylvester 'Syl' Fox (86) has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault of the woman at a bar in Dublin on December 17, 2018.

Mr Fox, of Wellington Lawn, Templeogue, had been asked for a photo with the middle-aged woman, Dublin District Court heard.

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Judge Paula Murphy she was on a Christmas night out with friends.

Questioned by State solicitor Alva O'Herlihy, she said Mr Fox came up to her group and said: "Hiya girls, are you looking for men?"

She added that "there was a blatant chorus of 'no' and he said 'f**k you' and turned away from us". That was described by another witness as banter or a joke.

Mr Fox was a performer popular with her parents' generation and she wanted a photo with him to show her father. She tapped him on his side and he agreed, she said.

She gave her phone to her friend as Mr Fox turned and asked if they were ready. She told him she liked a brooch he had on the lapel of his jacket, the court heard.

Mr Fox put his right hand on the back of her chair and his left hand in front as he stood to her side, she said.

The woman claimed that as her friend said "smile", "Mr Fox proceeded to put his hand on to my lap, on to my groin and he [touched her intimately], and doing so he said, 'You will always remember where this picture was taken'".

She said she did not say anything "and he scurried away".

"I was sick, stunned, I was floored, oh my God, this man has interfered with me," she said.

She said she turned to her friends and said "that man is after groping me, he's after sexually assaulting me".

She later confronted Mr Fox who was talking to other men, the court heard, and she asked him if she could have a word.

One of the men said "excuse me, we are sharing a joke" - that was Barry Murphy from 'Apres Match', the court heard.

She told Mr Fox "you sexually assaulted me, you groped me, and you are a dirty old man", the court heard.

His reply, she claimed, was "you should be so lucky".

She then told him she would "put you on Facebook".

Cross-examined by defence counsel Emer Ni Chuagain, the woman said the assault lasted for 30 seconds during the taking of the photo.

Asked why she was smiling in the photo, she said she was shocked and did not know what to say. She said she did not think it was an accident or that his hand slipped.

She made a complaint to gardaí the next day.

Detective Garda Shane Behan said his note of her allegation was that it happened in a split second.

Mr Fox came to Pearse Street garda station voluntarily. He gave gardaí a handwritten account of the night and agreed to be interviewed and that he did not need a solicitor.

He told the detective he was not intoxicated and the woman was a liar and trying to "ruin my name".

He denied the allegation completely. He was shown the CCTV and told gardaí it showed him doing a photo but he did not touch her intimately and "that is a load of c**p".

In the account he gave gardaí, he wrote that he had never been accused of anything improper during 50 years in showbiz.

"I have been in hundreds of selfies, as far as I am concerned I am being shafted," he said. The case continues.

Irish Independent