Sex assault | 

Dublin man (49) who groped woman on Luas tram jailed for six months

Ciaran Cantwell claimed he may have touched her shoulder but denied the threats and claimed he had teased her

Ciaran Cantwell (49), with an address at Morning Star Avenue, Dublin. Photo: Paddy Cummins© Paddy Cummins - PCPhoto.ie

Tom TuiteIndependent.ie

A man who groped a woman as she travelled on a Luas tram in south Dublin has been jailed for six months.

Ciaran Cantwell (49), with an address at Morning Star Avenue, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman on May 27, 2019, as the Green Line tram passed through Ranelagh.

However, Judge John Hughes convicted him following a hearing at Dublin District Court today.

He heard evidence from the woman and viewed CCTV of the incident.

He noted that the victim had been travelling with a friend. She had been looking at her phone when Cantwell "touched her by her collar bone and squeezed her right breast with his hand".

The court heard that words were exchanged, and the woman was threatened.

Cantwell's explanation was that he had been on the tram "going about his business".

He claimed he may have touched her shoulder but denied the threats and claimed he had teased her.

Judge Hughes found the complainant to be an honest witness and was satisfied the prosecution proved its case to the requisite standard.

Detective Garda Mark Costello, who investigated the crime, told the court Cantwell had 25 prior criminal convictions, including one minor assault, public order offences, obstruction of a garda and drug possession.

He previously spent time in custody on remand but never received a jail sentence.

Defence barrister Deirdre Flannery asked the judge to consider Cantwell's background.

The court heard he had attained a degree in English and philosophy. However, his life took a "drastic turn", and he suffered a breakdown after his brother died from drowning.

Following hospitalisation, he was discharged into a hostel for the homeless with no aftercare.

Counsel described him as "someone who has fallen between the cracks" and said that had an impact on his behaviour.

The court heard a GP was treating him, and a testimonial from a woman he had assisted previously was handed over to the judge.

Following the verdict, the victim also provided an impact statement.

Judge Hughes imposed a nine-month sentence but suspended the final three on the condition Cantwell did not re-offend in the next two years.


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