A MAN accused of a lewd act in front of a 12-year-old boy at a swimming pool said yesterday he was "over the moon" after a jury found him not guilty.
Patrick McMahon (64), said: "I'm so relieved after four-and-a-half years putting up with that. What about my family? They've had to put up with all this pressure too. I'm over the moon that it's all over. The pressure is off. My whole family will be relieved."
Mr McMahon was charged with "committing an act of a lewd, obscene or disgusting nature" that constituted "an outrage to public decency".
The father of one denied the act in front of the boy in the male changing rooms of St Enda's Swimming Pool, Limerick, on August 25, 2007.
After deliberating for two hours and 15 minutes yesterday, the jury returned a majority "not guilty" verdict.
In his closing speech to the jury at Limerick Circuit Court, defence counsel Mark Nicholas said Mr McMahon, of Mount Little Vincent, Rosbrien, Limerick, had the allegations of lewd behaviour hanging over him for over four years.
"This has had an awful effect on him, his family and his reputation. I ask you to remove that burden from him."
The court heard that on the day in question the boy had gone into the male changing rooms "for the first time on his own".
The boy agreed with Mr Nicholas that he found it "a bit daunting" that Mr McMahon was "walking naked around the changing rooms".
Mr Nicholas said it was "highly important" that they consider that the boy, "had little or no experiences" of adults walking around changing rooms naked.
He added: "In any changing room of this type there would be nudity and the whole thing was new and daunting for him."
In his final address to the jury, Mr Nicholas said: "If you're young and not used to nudity, the shock of it could be overwhelming. . . Use your common sense. Of course there would be nudity, scratching one's self, towelling one's self, and so forth."