Former soldier found guilty of sexual assaults and assault in court martial

Court hears man twice put his hand on leg of woman colleague, which was ‘inherently indecent’

A former soldier has been found guilty of all seven charges he faced at a limited court martial held in McKee Barracks, Dublin, over the last two weeks.

The court judge Col Michael Campion will pass sentence at a hearing to be confirmed at a later date.

The accused man faced three charges of sexual assault, two of assault, and two of misconduct, all alleged to have occurred on the morning of November 13th, 2021, between 2.10am and 5.30am. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Neither the defendant nor the witnesses can be identified by direction of the court.


The trial heard evidence the defendant sexually assaulted a woman soldier by placing his hands on her leg, without consent, and moving them up her thigh. It also heard that on a separate occasion on the same date, the defendant sexually assaulted the woman colleague again when he placed his right hand on the inside of her leg and moved it towards her groin.

Further allegations included that the former soldier sexually assaulted a male soldier by putting his arms around him in a hugging gesture and moving his face towards him, causing the complainant to believe the defendant was trying to kiss him.

The court also heard evidence that the alleged incidents had happened after a drinking session in the defendant’s room led to an altercation, allegedly resulting in a number of blows to the defendant’s face.

The former soldier’s legal team, led by Kathleen Leader SC with Michael Vallely BL, and instructed by Fergus O’Regan of O’Regan Little Solicitors, had claimed the defendant was entitled to a “special verdict” of guilty by reason of insanity because it was likely he had suffered concussion from the blows to his face.

Ms Leader said her client had four clearly visible soft tissue injuries to his face, including grazing and bruising. In her concluding remarks to the court martial board, or jury, she said the process over the last fortnight had heard from an expert witness who said the behaviours, and lack of recall, of the accused man were consistent with concussion.

While Ms Leader conceded the man was also intoxicated, having consumed beers and vodka, she said she believed he had exhibited clear signs of concussion, which was a mental disorder that meant he was not responsible for his actions at the time.

However, Cmdt Seán Coffey BL, with Tom Clarke of Fieldfisher Solicitors, for the Director of Military Prosecutions, said there was not enough evidence to prove the defendant was impaired due to a concussion.

Cmdt Clarke said the accused man had voluntarily consumed alcohol to the point of being very intoxicated, and he could not be excused from his actions while in that condition. Furthermore, the manner in which he had put his hand, twice, on the leg of a woman colleague was “inherently indecent”, thus meeting the threshold of sexual assault.

The guilty verdicts were returned by a military board – equivalent of a civilian jury – made up of five serving Defence Forces members.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist