Tuesday 20 March 2018

Man sentenced for assaulting house guest as she slept on couch

Conor Gallagher

A man has been sentenced to two years for indecently assaulting a guest in his house as she slept on his couch.

The 32-year-old Polish man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had returned to his home country after the attack in 2006. He came back to Ireland voluntarily last year after a European Arrest Warrant was issued.

He had pleaded not guilty at The Central Criminal Court to rape and indecent assault at his north Dublin home on August 6, 2006. He was convicted by a jury last month of indecent assault but acquitted of the rape charge.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said it was an aggravating factor that the man took advantage of someone who was a guest in his home and who was quite drunk at the time.

He imposed a two year sentence and suspended the final six months in light of his previous good character. The judge also noted that prison will be harder for the man because he is a foreign national.

Mr Justice McCarthy earlier rejected a defence application to impose an entirely suspended sentence.

Defence counsel Aileen Donnelly SC submitted that there is precedent for imposing non-custodial sentences in such cases and pointed to her client’s remorse and otherwise good character.

A local garda told the court the woman had been out a nightclub that evening with the accused and her partner.

They went back to the accused’s house afterwards and continued socialising in the back garden before she said she was tired and went inside.

The accused provided her with blankets and a pillow and she went to sleep on the couch.

Prosecuting counsel Bernard Condon SC told the judge that the then 22 year old woman woke up to find the accused sexually assaulting her.

Her clothes had been removed and the man was on top of her. The woman gave evidence in the trial that she felt his penis inside her but his was rejected by the jury.

During the attack the woman began to move and cry out. Her boyfriend was alerted and she told him she had been raped.

The accused apologised to the boyfriend and said he had ruined all three of their lives. The boyfriend then hit the accused.

Gardaí arrived and took the woman and her partner to the garda station. They later returned to the house to arrest the accused and found him passed out surrounded by broken glass.

In interview he said he had consensual sex with the woman. He was later released on bail and returned to his family home in Poland.

In 2012 a European Arrest Warrant was issued but the accused agreed to return to Ireland voluntarily and was readmitted to bail until his conviction.

A victim impact report read out in court stated the woman is now more nervous and cautious but is “happy this got to court and that I was trusted.”

The accused’s defence counsel said that he has no previous convictions here or in Poland and is highly unlikely to come back before the courts.

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