Man sexually assaulted woman after night out, court hears

Man pleads guilty to sexual assault of woman on Middle Abbey Street in Dublin

The man grabbed a hold of the woman’s underwear, and attempted to tear them off, the court was told. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

The man grabbed a hold of the woman’s underwear, and attempted to tear them off, the court was told. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A man sexually assaulted a woman on a public street following a night out, a court has heard.

Jonas Mercado, 30, of Castlecurragh Vale, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one charge of sexual assault following an incident that occurred on Middle Abbey Street on July 15th, 2017.

Garda Colm McCloskey told John Berry BL that on the night in question, Mercado approached his victim while she was speaking on her mobile phone and put a hand on her leg. He proceeded to grab a hold of her underwear, and attempted to tear them off.

On hearing shouts on the street, several people came to the victim’s aid, while Mercado was restrained by some passersby. The defendant eventually fled the scene.

In an impact statement, read to the court on behalf of the woman, Mercado’s victim said she felt “extremely vulnerable and frightened” after the attack, and felt compelled to bring a case to the courts to “protect” other women.

The victim said that she still does not feel “completely at ease” when she goes out.

After the assault had occurred on the night in question, the woman got into a taxi, where she was advised by the driver of the cab to report what had happened to the gardaí.

The driver then brought the victim to Ballymun Garda Station, where she made a statement about the assault.

In the statement made to gardaí at the station, the victim spoke of her initial disbelief at Mercado’s conduct, thinking it was some sort of “joke”.

When gardaí initially began investigating the case, officers learned that Mercado had left Ireland to live in Australia.

Mercado was convicted of a breaking and entering offence while in Australia, and gardaí were informed by Australian authorities when Mercado left there to return to Ireland last year.

He was arrested after re-entering the State and subsequently interviewed by gardaí.

Philip Rahn BL, defending, told the court that the recent illness and subsequent death of Mercado’s father had had an adverse effect on the his behaviour, often turning to alcohol for “solace”.

Mercado, who was inebriated at the time of the assault, “now realises” the destructive nature of his relationship with alcohol, Mr Rahn said.

Mr Rahn asked the court to consider Mercado’s early guilty plea, his remorse and dedication to his family ahead of sentencing.

Judge Melanie Greally, noted that Mercado’s behaviours were “very concerning”, and recommended a full risk assessment of the defendant before any sentence is handed down.