Trial of man charged with sexually assaulting woman in Dublin bar collapses

Judge said it would not be possible to convict defendant when ‘ Mr X’ was not investigated

Donal Geoghegan (37) was acquitted of sexual assault at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Collins Courts

Donal Geoghegan (37) was acquitted of sexual assault at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

The trial of a man charged with sexually assaulting a woman on the dance floor of a late bar in Dublin city centre on November 21st, 2015 has collapsed.

On Monday, day four of the trial, Judge Cormac Quinn directed the jury to acquit the defendant, Donal Geoghegan.

Mr Geoghegan (37) of Oakdale Park, Ballycullen, Dublin pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Judge Quinn referred to evidence given by the complainant, wherein she recounted the alleged sexual assault, and told the jury she did not see who had touched her thigh and vagina as she crossed the dance floor carrying glasses.

The woman had told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, as she crossed the dance floor she felt a hand on the pocket area at the top of her thigh and described how it “moved to my vagina where it stayed for what felt like hours”.

Judge Quinn said the woman described turning around and seeing the defendant looking at her in a blank, indifferent way.

“She told you she knew in her gut it was the defendant that assaulted her. This is not evidence and cannot be relied on,” he said.

CCTV footage

He noted that CCTV footage from the bar, shown to the jury during the trial, did not disclose the identity of the man who allegedly assaulted the woman.

The judge referred to another man, named “Mr X”, who defence counsel described as behaving in “an extremely tactile” way towards four or five women, “one of whom he touched in a covert manner”.

“This man’s activities were not investigated by An Garda Síochána. “Mr X” was close to the complainant at the time of the alleged offence and it is possible that he touched her,” he said.

The court had viewed footage of “Mr X”, standing near both the woman and the defendant when the alleged sexual assault occurred.

“Mr X” could be seen placing his hands on two women’s arms and hair, patting a third woman’s head and putting his mouth towards a fourth woman’s arm.

Judge Quinn said it would not be possible for the jury to convict the defendant when the activities of Mr X were not investigated.

Michael O’Higgins SC told Judge Quinn his client wished to make an application for costs. This issue will be heard on January 11th, 2018.