A Donegal-based garda has gone on trial charged with sexually assaulting and harassing two female colleagues.
The garda, who is married and in his 30s, pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court yesterday.
A number of senior gardaí including Donegal’s chief superintendent Terry McGinn were in court for the start of the trial.
The court heard evidence from one of the two gardaí allegedly assaulted between November 2010 and May 2011.
The garda faces seven charges of sexual assault and two of harassment. The trial is expected to last up to three days.
The female garda broke down in tears as she claimed she had been sexually assaulted three times by the officer – once in a patrol car and twice in the Garda station in which all three worked.
She described how on one occasion he grabbed her arms while she was sitting in a swivel chair and pushed her down a corridor before sexually assaulting her.
She said all other male colleagues at the station treated the female members with respect. If anything ever got out of hand, the senior officer would remind them that there were “ladies present”.
The garda said she was forced to attend her GP and told her of what was happening at work.
Because of the nature of her shift work and because of the alleged harassment and sexual assaults she had suffered, she said she was not sleeping.
"There wasn't a day that went by that he did not touch me or make some kind of comment," she said.
Made skin crawl
She added that the sight of him made her skin crawl and she even vomited before work at the thought of having to see and work with him.
The female garda said: “All of his verbal and physical contact was unwanted and I never let him believe anything other than that.”
The accused sat at the back of the court alongside his wife.
Judge John O’Hagan instructed that no filming or photographing of the accused should take place, or anything be reported that would identify the two female gardaí involved.
The trial before a jury of 10 men and two women continues today, with evidence expected from the other female garda who claims she was also sexually assaulted and harassed.