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Irish Olympic boxer given probation and community service for sex assault on woman in bar

The court heard yesterday that despite being barred from the Fairhill Bar, Donnelly twice went to to the bar that evening.

Steven Donnelly

Steven Donnelly

Sunday World

An Olympic and bronze medal winning commonwealth boxer was today ordered to complete probation and community service after he admitted sexually assaulting a woman.

While Ballymena Magistrates Court heard that Steven Donnelly is hoping to resurrect his professional boxing career, the 34-year-old was also ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for five years.

Imposing a combination order of 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service, District Judge Nigel Broderick said with his previous convictions for breaching a non-molestation order “that, I think, belies a certain attitude that you seem to have dealing with females.”

“Clearly this was wholly inappropriate behaviour and you were intoxicated but that doesn’t in anyway excuse what you did,” the judge told Donnelly.

Donnelly, from Dunfane Park in Ballymena, had admitted sexually assaulting the female and using disorderly behaviour on licensed premises on 9 October last year.

The court heard yesterday that despite being barred from the Fairhill Bar, Donnelly twice went to to the bar that evening.

A prosecuting lawyer described how, on the first occasion, Donnelly “thrust his penis” towards the woman as he was being ushered out of the bar but he came back a few hours later.

Steven Donnelly

This time, Donnelly grabbed the victim’s upper inner thigh, pushing his hand towards her groin as he lifted her off the ground, “shouting and sweating aggressively.”

In an incident captured on CCTV, DJ Broderick revealed other customers tried to intervene to help the woman and after Donnelly was put out once again, he was later arrested and interviewed but refused to answer police questions.

Defence counsel Sean Mullan said the incident “is a matter of enormous regret” to Donnelly, adding that clearly, the boxer “has substance misuse problems, particularly with alcohol.”

“He represented his country at both Olympic and Commonwealth games,” said the barrister, “he was in the public eye and that can be an unforgiving place.”

Lamenting that the end of a long term relationship sparked the previous convictions for breaching an NMO, Mr Mullan said Donnelly “could potentially get back into professional boxing ring again.”

While DJ Broderick said he would follow the recommendation in the probation report for a combination order he warned Donnelly, who appeared in court in a parka coat and ripped jeans, “it’s not without some hesitation” and if he breached any aspect of it he wills be back in court to be resentenced and potentially facing jail.

Donnelly represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 and won bronze medals at both the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 at welterweight and the Gold Coast in 2018 at middleweight.


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