Woman beaten by sex offender
A CONVICTED sex offender followed a woman out of a taxi into her friend’s house in Balbriggan, and ‘battered’ her when he was asked to leave the District Court heard.
Aidan Kenny (27), 9 Ardilaun Square, Ballybough, pleaded guilty at Balbriggan District Court to common assault on Claire Houlihan at Turkinstown, Balbriggan on March 6, 2005.
Judge Cormac Dunne told him he would jail him for five months unless he paid ?10,000 in compensation to the injured party.
The defendant also pleaded guilty to public drunkenness after gardai found him staggering on the motorway at Folkestown, Naul later that night. A charge of trespassing at the house was struck out.
The court heard the defendant had a previous conviction for an offence under Section 4 of the Rape Act, and was on the sex offenders’ register.
He had served 18 months in Wheatfield Prison, imposed in June 2000 for an offence in 1997. The remainder of the five-year sentence had been suspended.
Outlining the facts of the Balbriggan case, Supt Tom Gallagher said a group of women had been out a nightclub and were sharing a taxi home; some were going to Swords and some to Balbriggan. The defendant was also going home and got into the taxi with them.
The first girl was dropped off, then when the next two, Lindsey Harper and Claire Houlihan got out, the defendant went with them. He followed them into Ms Harper’s house and was asked to leave when he was in the hall. He refused and Ms Harper ‘gave him a push’.
At this stage, he turned around and punched Ms Houlihan, who was Ms Harper’s guest. Ms Houlihan was struck above the right eye, she ended up in a chair and the defendant continued hitting her.
He was pushed to the ground, Ms Harper’s father came on the scene and put him out of the house. Ms Houlihan’s injuries included bruising and cuts to her face and she had been ‘very traumatised’ by the incident, Supt Gallagher said.
Defence counsel John Byrne BL said Kenny had been ‘of the view that he had been invited into the house’, but had ‘completely misread the situation’ and it was a ‘mistaken view’.
‘That is an easy answer,’ Supt Gallagher said. ‘It’s clear from the statements that that was not the case.’
Mr Byrne said Garda Michael Mellody found the defendant wandering drunk on the motorway at Naul three hours later. He was arrested for public drunkenness because he was a danger to himself, and he subsequently made a statement in relation to the assault. His recollection of the events was quite poor because of his intoxication.
‘Even if we accept for discussion purposes that he thought he was invited into the house, that doesn’t entitle him to strike someone when he was asked to leave,’ Judge Dunne said.
‘The proposition that he thought he was an invitee is irrelevant as a submission in mitigation. Anybody can be an invitee of any householder, but when they are requested courteously to leave, that is it.’
Mr Byrne said the defendant fully accepted that his violent reaction was wrong. He was working as floor manager at a motor company in Blanchardstown and his girlfriend was pregnant. There were ‘no medical or psychiatric issues’. He apologised and had ?2,000 compensation in court.
‘An assault on a fellow human being has two consequences - the immediate consequence of the physical pain and trauma and secondly, and sometimes more importantly, it causes a psychological injury,’ the judge said.
Ms Houlihan was a young lady enjoying a night out with her friends, which ended with the defendant striking her and then continuing to ‘beat and batter’ her in a chair.
He said people who experienced the trauma of assault could lose confidence in socialising or in simple things like going out for a walk at night.
‘This gentleman has already been incarcerated for a serious offence and as far as the court is concerned, he hasn’t learned from that. One would have thought that Mr Kenny would be one citizen who would say ‘I can guarantee, I am not going to be in trouble again’ and would be one person who would not get involved in violence against ladies.’
The judge said drink was ‘no excuse’. He said the defendant had two options: to pay ?10,000 and receive a three-month suspended sentence or to go to jail for five months.
He paid over the ?2,000 he had in court and the judge adjourned the case to December 8 for the payment of the balance. Judge Dunne stressed that this did not discharge his civil liability for the assault.
The judge said the defendant should be grateful for the support of his mother, who was in court. The drunkenness charge was struck out.