'Took advantage' Taxi driver who sexually assaulted drunk passenger to be sentenced
A taxi driver who sexually assaulted a late night passenger after she had passed out drunk in his car, will be sentenced next month.
The victim told gardaí that she woke up to find Gerard Gunnery (60) with his hand inside her and masturbating himself.
She said he then became aggressive and threw her out of the car, leaving her in a heap on the side of the road.
Lawyers for Gunnery asked Judge Karen O'Connor to not define him for these “ten minutes of a life” which was otherwise “all of good”.
Dominic McGinn SC, defending, said his client's actions that night were “completely out of character”.
He handed in testimonials describing Gunnery as a hard working, “good man” with a “kind heart”.
Gunnery of Ellenfield Road, Whitehall, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault of the woman at place in Dublin city on December 23, 2017.
After a sentence hearing today Judge O'Connor remanded Gunnery into custody to December 11 next for imposition of sentence.
During the hearing the victim addressed the court and said that a regular girls’ night out in town turned into a nightmare when she woke up in the front seat of the taxi parked outside her home.
eighbours later told gardaí they heard a woman shouting “get off me” and “stop, don't touch me” and saw the driver pulling the woman out of the taxi. She was screaming that her leg was stuck under the taxi and he came out and “threw her out of the way”.
She was found on the ground crying and screaming.
The court heard she suffered bruising to her elbows, kneecaps and her jaw.
Gunnery made a statement to gardaí claiming that the woman had told him to “go for it” and that he wouldn't have touched her if she hadn't said that.
“I am really sorry. She was drunk. I was sober,” he told gardaí.
In her victim impact statement the woman told Gunnery that “you took advantage of me when you should have taken me home”.
She said she suffered crippling guilt and shame and entertained thoughts like “I drank too much, my skirt was too short, my knee high boots were too inviting”.
Se feared that her attacker was still out driving a taxi and knew whereabouts she lived and said she still suffers flashbacks and becomes upset if she sees a silver coloured taxi.
She said Christmas time last year is difficult because of her fear of drinking and being “in town” again.
In her victim impact the statement the woman said that what was a regular girls night out turned into a nightmare.
She described getting into the taxi in town and said she "completely passed out". She said she remembers the other woman later getting out at their destination and Gunnery suggesting to her to get into the front passenger seat.
"You put your hand on my leg. I brushed it off. That was the last thing I remember before I passed out again".
Judge O'Connor told the woman that “this was not your fault” and told her she had shown great strength on the night and since.
“I sincerely hope you get to a point where you can put this behind you,” she said.
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