'unforgiveable' | 

Man who sexually assaulted woman at party spared jail after victim says she forgives him

She was wakened by the defendant who had pulled down her trousers and underwear.

Wexford People

Words of forgiveness from the woman he sexually assaulted led to the offender being spared imprisonment.

The man in his late 30s was found guilty by a jury of the attack in the aftermath of a house party.

He was allowed bail but returned to the Circuit Court in Wexford for a sentencing hearing.

Judge Martin Nolan was reminded how the man and the person he assaulted both attended the party in 2018 in a rural area.

They were not acquainted but he showed some interest in her during the night.

She explained to him that she was engaged and that the interest was not mutual.

When the party ended, she fell asleep on a couch in the sun-room.

She was wakened by the defendant who had pulled down her trousers and underwear.

He had been kissing her backside and he had penetrated her with his fingers.

The matter was investigated by New Ross gardaí.

It appeared that he was intoxicated and he told gardaí later that he had snorted a red substance in a pub earlier in the evening.

The woman was called to make her victim impact statement from the witness box.

She started by thanking Detective Garda Darren Lyons for his ‘fantastic’ work in investigating the case.

She also expressed gratitude for the support of her family and particularly of her husband, whom she married since the events being dealt with by the court.

The whole business had been emotionally draining, she said.

She observed that she now understood why so many victims of such assaults do not give statements of complaint.

She added that she had suffered from flashbacks and indicated that she now views life with greater caution: “I feel the world is a darker place but I move on.”

And she felt that the assault had a detrimental effect on her marriage.

She then stated clearly that she did not wish to see her assailant imprisoned.

She said she hoped that he would think twice in future about taking alcohol or other behaviour altering substances.

Defending solicitor Roderick O’Hanlon pointed out that his client had no other convictions on his record.

A married man with children, he accepted the verdict of the jury and the matter will not be appealed.

The testimony of the injured party impressed Judge Martin Nolan, who confessed himself surprised by what she said.

The defendant was found guilty of a serious sexual assault and the judge had a sentence of two years in mind.

However, he felt he must take account of the woman’s wishes after she expressed her thoughts exceptionally well.

“She has changed my mind,” he said before recording a two and a half year sentence which was suspended in full.

“What he did was unforgiveable and he did a huge injustice to the injured party.”

The man’s name was added to the sex offenders register and he was bound to the peace before being released from the dock.

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