Dublin man avoids jail for sexual assault while victim's son was in same bed

A Dublin father who sexually assaulted his neighbour while her eight-year-old son lay in the bed beside them has been given a two-year, suspended sentence.

The child woke up during the assault, recognised the man and told him to “get off my Mammy” before he leaned over and tried to push him away.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the woman, had attended a street party with a number of neighbours, including the victim, earlier that day. They had known each other for a number of years and she was his daughter’s godmother.

The man later told gardaí that he had no idea how he ended up in the woman’s bed and said he thought the victim was his partner when he began touching her and pulling down her leggings and underwear.

Garda Sinead McCormack told Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that the boy woke up a few minutes into the assault to find the man in the bed touching the then 34-year-old victim.

The child recognised the man, called out his name and shouted at him to: “Get off my Mammy” before he leaned over and tried to push him off.

Gda McCormack said at this stage the man had the woman pinned to the bed having wrapped his leg around her. He whispered into her ear “ssshhh just stay still, relax, I am nearly done”.

Under his mother’s instructions, the child then ran off to get help from another neighbour. The neighbour arrived into the bedroom minutes later and the man left the house.

The 42-year-old father of four pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault in a Dublin suburb on July 15, 2012. He was registered a sex offender after he entered his plea.

He has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since.

A victim impact report was prepared for the case and handed into court but not read out.

Judge Martin Nolan said the man had given “an explanation of sorts” for what he did that night but added “I don’t find it very believable, to put it bluntly”.

He said he must also take into account the way the man met the case, acknowledging that he has moved out of the area and is now living on social welfare.

Judge Nolan said the “most pertinent finding” from the Probation Service report is that the man is not at risk of re-offending and he accepted that there was “no aggravating violence” used.

He suspended the entire two-year sentence after he said that he didn’t think, considering the man’s lack of relevant convictions and genuine remorse, that the crime justified an immediate custodial sentence.

Gda McCormack agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending, that it was clear from his client’s subsequent interview with gardaí that he had “no clear recollection” of how he ended up in the woman’s bed.

He also maintained throughout the interview that he didn’t realise it was the woman he was touching and he believed it was his partner.

Gda McCormack agreed with counsel that the man said he had taken both alcohol and cocaine that night but claimed he didn’t have a drug problem.

Mr Colgan said a probation report before the court said that his client had expressed both remorse and sorrow for what happened and is at a low risk of re-offending.

The report also concluded that the man was not a suitable candidate for a sexual offenders treatment programme and he was considered suitable for community service.

Mr Colgan said his client had mistaken the victim’s home for his own which was across the road.

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