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Avoids jail Man fined after pleading guilty to masturbating in Marks & Spencer toilets in Dublin

It was alleged the accused was in the men’s toilets and “engaged in public masturbation” which was witnessed by plain clothes gardai

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Marks & Spencer. Stock image

Marks & Spencer. Stock image

Marks & Spencer. Stock image

A man has been spared a jail sentence for performing a sex act in the public men’s room in a Marks & Spencer department store in Dublin.

Jonathon dos Santos, 36, was handed a €400 fine on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to masturbating at the men’s toilets in the store on Mary Street in the city-centre on June 6 last.

Garda John Timmons had told Dublin District Court that dos Santos made no reply when charged under the Sexual Offences Act.

After hearing an outline of the facts, Judge Bryan Smyth had held the case should be dealt with at district court level and not in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

Garda Timmons had said it was alleged the accused was in the men’s toilets and “engaged in public masturbation” which was witnessed by plain clothes gardai.

The toilets had already been placed under surveillance by undercover officers investigating claims some men were involved in public sex acts there.

Disclosure of prosecution of evidence was handed over to the defence in July. There was no CCTV footage of the alleged incident, the court heard.

A guilty plea was entered when dos Santos appeared again yesterday/today (thur).

Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Paddy McGarry said it had been a traumatic experience for his client.

The defendant felt there was an element of entrapment but he accepted gardai were doing their job.

Dos Santos, a Brazilian with no prior convictions, came to Ireland several years ago and worked full time.

He was apologetic to everyone over his actions, his solicitor told the court. Dos Santos also brought €400 for a possible donation to charity.

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A conviction at district court level the offence can result in a class D fine of €500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

Judge Smyth said other people including children could have walked into the toilet.

Describing his behaviour as unacceptable, he imposed a conviction and fined dos Santos €400 which must be paid within four months.

At least four other men have cases pending for similar acts at the same location. Two of them have pleaded guilty.

The court has heard the toilet was placed under Garda surveillance after it became a known spot for men to engage in public sex acts, a court has heard.

Marks & Spencer had received reports that this had been going on for a number of months.

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