Former Defence Forces member charged with sex assaults on two soldiers at military base

Unidentified man denies all charges at court martial being heard at McKee Barracks

A former member of the Defence Forces has gone on trial charged with sexually assaulting two other soldiers at a military base two and a half years ago.

At the opening of the limited court martial hearing at McKee Barracks on Blackhorse Avenue in Dublin, the former soldier – who cannot be named for legal reasons – pleaded not guilty to two allegations of sexual assault against a female colleague, and not guilty to one further sexual assault charge against a male colleague in November 2021. He has pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

It is alleged that, on the date in question, the soldier sexually assaulted the female soldier by placing his hands on her leg, without consent, and moving them up her thigh. It is further alleged that, on a separate occasion on the same date, he sexually assaulted the female colleague again when he placed his right hand on the inside of her leg and moved it towards her groin.

The former solider also allegedly sexually assaulted a male soldier by putting his arms around his colleague in a hugging gesture and moving his face towards him, causing the complainant to believe that he was attempting to kiss him.


The former solider also faces three charges of assault and two alleged offences against military law, namely, committing conduct “to the prejudice of good order and discipline”.

All offences are alleged to have occurred at a military base, between the hours of 2.10am and 5.30am on November 13th, 2021.

A range of reporting restrictions prohibit the publication of a number of details about the case, including the names of the accused and the complainants or any evidence likely to identify them, and the location where the alleged offences occurred.

Opening the Director of Military Prosecution’s case, Comdt Sean Coffey said that, on the date in question, it is alleged the accused was consuming alcohol with a friend on the military base. After a time, both men moved to the accused’s room, where they continued to drink vodka.

Another soldier in a nearby room was awoken by a “noisy disagreement” between the accused and his colleague, Comdt Coffey said, and called for other Defence Forces members to attend. The accused and his friend were separated by members who arrived on the scene, the court heard.

It is alleged that the accused sexually assaulted his female colleague when she came to room following the disturbance, moving his hands up her leg without consent.

Following the alleged incident, the accused, who was “highly intoxicated and agitated”, was moved to another part of the base, where a male soldier made attempts to calm him down, Comdt Coffey told the court.

It is alleged that the accused sexually assaulted the male soldier by moving his hands around him in a hugging motion, leading to the solider to believe he was trying to kiss him.

The soldier was “uncomfortable”, and tried to move the accused back to his accommodation, Comdt Coffey told the court.

While escorting him back to his room, it is alleged that the accused made several more attempts to hug his male colleague, giving rise to an allegation of assault.

On reaching his accommodation, the accused met another colleague. The latter soldier, giving evidence to the court on Tuesday, said that the accused made a gesture at him “simulating oral sex”. He told Kathleen Leader SC, for the defendant, that he was not offended by the gesture, and agreed that it was out of character for the defendant.

He said that the male complainant who had escorted the accused to his room looked “quite shook up”, prompting him to ask if he was all right.

Asked about the accused’s demeanour, the soldier told the court he was “all over the place”, slurring his words, and “laughing and joking”.

“I think he found the situation quite funny,” he said.

Following this interaction, the accused was again moved from his room to another part of the campus, where his female colleague attempted to calm him down, the court heard. It is alleged that the accused sexually assaulted this colleague again by placing his right hand on her thigh and moving it up towards her groin.

It is further alleged that the accused assaulted his female colleague, when he pulled her into his body and moved his head to the left of her neck, leading her to believe he was going to bite her.

Another solider, who gave evidence on Tuesday, told the court that she was awoken at 2.30am on the date in question, and subsequently informed of an alleged assault involving the accused man and his friend with whom he had been drinking.

She told the court that on meeting with the accused’s friend, he was “very upset”, and said, “I did it, I hit him, it’s all my fault”, or words to that affect.

“I think he said, ‘I should have killed him’,” she added.

The soldier told that court that the accused’s friend later stated: “He’s the golden boy ... everyone will believe him, no one will believe me.”

As he was being escorted to another part of the base, the accused’s friend stopped suddenly and said “What am I going to tell my wife?”, the soldier told the court.

The court martial continues on Wednesday.

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher is an Irish Times journalist