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Meath man given fully suspended sentence for sexual assault

A Meath man who admitted in court to sexually assaulting a woman in front of his friends has been given an 18 month suspended sentence, and will avoid jail.

52-year-old Dermot Ryan from Co. Meath pleaded guilty in Trim Circuit Court to the offence in August of 2021 at a bar in Crossakiel, according to LMFM.

Victim Geraldine Doherty reportedly waived her right to anonymity so that she could name the defendant.

Garda Fidelma Madden told the court that the victim and her family were having lunch at a restaurant and bar near Kells, Co. Meath, following a friend’s funeral. Before leaving, Doherty returned to the bar area briefly to have a photograph taken of her.

However, as she arrived at the bar, the defendant reportedly grabbed her, turned her around physically, lifted her up several times pretending to have sexual intercourse with her, and then returned to his friends.

According to the Garda, neither the accused nor the victim knew each other. The assault, which was captured on CCTV, was shown in court. Judge Patrick Quinn said that the woman was thrown around “like a rag doll.”

Reportedly, the defendant told Gardaí that he had had a significant amount of drink at the time, and thought he knew the victim. He claimed that there was no sexual intent behind the act, and that he was simply “doing a bit of messing,” according to the LMFM report.

However, according to a victim impact statement, the victim said that her life had been “destroyed” by the event, and that she has lived in fear since, experiencing flashbacks, panic attacks, and difficulty sleeping or working. She also said that her back had gone into spasm as a result of the stress.

The woman also reportedly refused to accept a letter of apology from the defendant, and refused €2,500 as a symbol of his remorse. Judge Quinn said that he was not surprised that the sum wasn’t accepted due to the “enormous” impact of the assault on the victim.

Barrister James O’Brien BL, who represented the defendant, said that Ryan admitted that his actions where “juvenile, boorish and unacceptable,” and the defendant’s probation report identified that he was at low risk of re-offending.

Taking into account the probation report, the judge said that he relieved that Ryan understood the pain he had caused, and that he was a generally law-abiding person who had acted out of character in this instance. As a result, he handed down a suspended 18-month sentence, and ordered the defendant to donate €2,500 to the Rape Crisis Centre.

Yesterday Gript reported how a care home worker who stole over €3,000 from 83-year-old victim was given a fully-suspended sentence, receiving no jail time.

Gript also reported recently how a man caught with sex abuse videos of babies as young as 2 avoided jail.

Recently Gript asked Justice Minister Helen McEntee about what some see as soft-sentencing in the Irish courts for serious offences. Her response can be viewed below.



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