'moment of madness' | 

Judge warns 'lonely' Swedish man who masturbated in public he'll be jailed if he remains in country

Stefan Persson, a Swede who lives in Portugal, 'is most regretful and very ashamed' the court heard
Ennis District Court

Ennis District Court

Gordon Deegan

A judge has warned a ‘lonely’ Swedish tourist that if he is still in the country next Wednesday she will jail him after he pleaded guilty to masturbating and exposing himself in public in the Burren coastal village of Ballyvaughan last weekend.

At Ennis District Court on Friday, Judge Mary Larkin made the warning after Stefan Persson (29) of Avenida Ifante Dom Henrique, Lisbon pleaded guilty to two offences under the Criminal (Sexual Offences) Act at Ballyvaughan last Saturday afternoon.

Solicitor for Mr Persson, Laura Stephenson told the court that her client experienced “a moment of madness” when exposing himself and masturbating in front of a 60 year old local woman in the north Clare tourist village of Ballyvaughan.

Judge Larkin stated that she had a week in prison in mind for Mr Persson after Sgt Louis Moloney described the incidents as “most unsavoury”.

Judge Larkin told Mr Persson that she is going to convict him.

In one incident, Mr Persson pleaded guilty to engaging in masturbation in public contrary to Section 45 of the Criminal (Sexual Offences) Act in front of a 60 year old woman in the vicinity of Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan at around 3pm last Saturday.

In the second, Mr Persson pleaded guilty to indecently exposing his genitals intending to cause fear, distress or alarm to another person contrary to Section 45 of the Criminal (Sexual Offences) act at the same place and this followed a complaint made by a 77 year old local woman.

The court was told in one of the incidents at 3.30pm last Saturday that as the 60 year old woman walked past Mr Persson’s camper van, he opened the door and the woman could see that he was exposed and masturbated in front of her.

In the second incident at 4pm on the same date, the 77 year old woman was walking past the camper van and as she did so, Mr Persson opened the door of the vehicle and she could see that he was exposed.

Ms Stephenson stated that Mr Persson is a Swedish national residing in Portugal and wishes to enter a plea of guilty as he doesn’t wish to take up any more of the court’s time.

She stated that Mr Persson “is most regretful and very ashamed“ of what occurred.

She said: “It was a moment of madness that he deeply regrets. He doesn’t have a record of any kind in Sweden or Portugal.”

Ms Stephenson stated that while it is not an excuse, Mr Persson was in a relationship that broke up recently “and he was quite lonely and bothered”.

She stated that Ms Persson used to run a tourism business and that ended because of Covid-19.

Ms Persson stated that Mr Persson was willing to make a donation to the Court Discretionary Fund (CDF) and is anxious to avoid a conviction.

Ms Stephenson stated that Mr Persson’s return flight ticket to Lisbon is for Monday.

In response to the proposed donation, Judge Larkin said that she “can’t just magic away" what has occurred and adjourned the case for sentencing to next Wednesday.


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