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Judge Patrick Durcan

Passenger videoed sex assault on bus

A 70-year old man is to be sentenced next month for sexually assaulting a man in his eighties on a bus travelling through west Clare last Summer.

During the course of the assault on June 9 last, a passenger sitting across the aisle from the two men on the west Clare Bus Éireann service to Ennis filmed the assault.

The footage from the passenger’s smart phone along with CCTV footage of the attack would have formed part of the State’s evidence if the case had gone to trial.

However, the 70-year old’s plea of guilty recorded at Kilrush District Court this week has eliminated the need for the video evidence to be shown and also for his elderly victim to go into the witness box and give evidence.

Giving an outline of the facts in the case at Kilrush District Court, Inspector Paul Slattery said that the video footage shows the accused starting to grope the other male alongside him and “forcibly grab the older man’s genital area” outside the trousers.

The victim in the case got on the Kilkee to Ennis service and he was joined by the accused on the bus when it made its stop to pick up passengers at Kilrush. The accused knows the injured party ‘briefly’ and sat down beside him for the onward trip to Ennis.

Inspector Tom Kennedy told the court previously that the accused left his hand on the victim’s genitals outside his trousers “in a provocative manner in the context of the inappropriateness of his actions”.

Inspector Kennedy said that this continued for around six to eight miles to an area called Tullycrine.

Garda Eoin Daly told the court that the incident was filmed by a passenger sitting across the way from the two men on the bus.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had recommended that the case be heard in the district court and Judge Patrick Durcan has agreed after hearing an outline of the facts.

The accused made no reply when charged with the assault by Garda Daly.

In the case, the accused has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his victim at an unknown location between Kilrush and Lissycasey on the N68 route linking Kilrush to Ennis. The alleged sex assault offence contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law Rape Amendment Act is alleged to have taken place at around 5.15pm on June 9 last.

In court on Tuesday, solicitor for the accused, Edel Ryan asked that the case be adjourned for a Probation Report on her client. She said: “I believe judge that it would be really helpful.”

Judge Durcan said that a victim impact statement was also needed before he would pass sentence in the case.

He remanded the accused on continuing bail and ordered that reporting restrictions remain in place on the accused and victim’s identity.

A condition of bail is that the accused is to have no contact with the injured party.

Judge Durcan adjourned the case to April 10 to Kilrush District Court for sentence.

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