Man (29) jailed for sexually assaulting sleeping flatmate

Judge says accused’s behaviour during Dublin incident in April 2018 reprehensible

A man who sexually assaulted his flat mate while she was sleeping on a couch has been jailed for 2.5 years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

A man who sexually assaulted his flat mate while she was sleeping on a couch has been jailed for 2.5 years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times.

 

A man who sexually assaulted his flatmate while she was sleeping on a couch has been jailed for 2½ years.

The 29-year-old Italian man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty to sexually assault at a flat in Dublin city on April 28th, 2018.

Det Garda Anne McGowan told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the woman and man became friends after she started sharing a flat with him.

They had an intimate relationship for a short time and when it ended the woman began a relationship with another man, she said.

Garda McGowan told the court that the woman came home one night and was sitting on the coach with the defendant. She fell asleep next to him and woke to find the man sexually penetrating her without her consent.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard it took some time for her to fully wake up and for what was happening “to fully sink in”. After the assault, the man said sorry to the woman, who went to bed and sent him a text message the next day to say she was shocked at his actions.

The court heard he replied by text, saying: “I’m so so sorry, I’m so ashamed of myself, I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything, I wish I could undo my actions.”

Panicked

The woman contacted gardaí­and the man later made a statement in which he claimed the sexual activity was consensual. His counsel Orla Crowe SC submitted that her client had panicked at that point and later admitted to his actions.

Ms Crowe handed in a number of character references for the men, including some from his female friends. A woman came to court with the man, who was out on bail, for the sentencing hearing on Monday.

Judge Martin Nolan said he could accept as genuine the man’s expressions of shame and remorse. He said he was unlikely to re-offend and had no previous convictions.

However, he said “the fall from grace was so severe” that a jail sentence was necessary. He said the accused behaved reprehensibly and left the woman severely traumatised.

Reading from her own victim impact statement, the woman said her life would never be the same as a result of what had happened and that the attack took all her dignity and femininity from her.

She said being subjected to the forensic medical examination left her with no privacy. She said nobody understood how badly she had been injured because the psychological damage was unmeasureable.