Soldier sexually abused colleagues when drinking session turned sour, court martial told

Defendant pleads not guilty to two allegations of sexual assault against female colleague and not guilty to one sexual assault against male colleague in 2021

A then-member of the Defence Forces sexually abused and made unwelcome suggestions to colleagues when a drinking session in his room turned into an altercation, a military court has heard.

The second day of a limited court martial sitting at McKee Barracks in Dublin heard the defendant, who has since left the Army, was involved in an altercation in the early hours, during which a fellow soldier punched the defendant and repeatedly asked: “Why did you do this to me?”

A third soldier, a woman in the next room, said she heard a loud noise followed by the soldier shouting at the defendant: “I am going to put a barrel down your throat” and repeating, “Why did you do this to me?”

She said the soldier doing the punching appeared to be trying to hold back but was “very, very upset”. She told him to leave the room and he went into the corridor, where he paced up and down and said: “I am going to kill him.”


The defendant has 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.

A second female soldier gave evidence that she was called to the scene of the altercation shortly after 2am on the night and observed a litre bottle of Grey Goose vodka in the defendant’s room with about 100ml left in it. She also saw some soft drinks cans and cigarettes.

She said a soldier was being restrained by other Defence Forces personnel and the defendant was in his room wearing a “glazed” look. “It appeared he had been consuming alcohol,” she said.

She saw the defendant had a cut on his head, sat beside him to gauge his condition, and determined that “he looked hazy”. As she observed him, she said the defendant “proceeded to put his hand up my shorts”. She said she pushed the defendant’s hand away and told him, “Don’t do that”.

She said he then placed his hand on her leg and said to her, “One time in band camp”, a phrase that became associated with random sexual acts after being used in the American Pie films. The female solider said she did not know what it meant at the time.

She said she made a decision to bring the defendant to another part of the base and called a male colleague to prepare a bed. She said the defendant’s demeanour then changed and he lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, alternately closing and opening his eyes.

She said the defendant was fully dressed and on a number of occasions “brought his knees up to his chest”. Later, she added, the defendant “placed his right hand on the inside of my left leg”. She said she had already told him to stop, but he twice more put his hand on her leg and up towards her groin.

The defendant stood up, she continued, and “pulled in close and wrapped his arms around me and went to bite the left side of my neck”. She said the defendant asked: “Is it no. Or is it no no?”

A male soldier gave evidence that he had been asked to make sure there was a bed and facilities ready for the defendant, but that when he was alone with him, the defendant “got up on all fours on the bed and started going on: ‘Just this one time in band camp’”.

He said the defendant later advanced towards him attempting an embrace. He said he thought the defendant “was trying to kiss” him. The soldier said the defendant’s actions were very unwelcome.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist