Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Gordon Deegan

A district court judge says she has on numerous occasions had to suffer inappropriate behaviour from men who have no respect for women.

At Kilrush District Court, Judge Mary Larkin made her comment before convicting a 56-year-old west Clare man of sexual assault after he slapped the backside of a woman who he was attracted to on November 17th 2021.

The man – who has no previous convictions – pleaded guilty to the offence of sexual assault of the woman after he slapped her backside while she was queueing to pay for her shopping at Queally’s Supervalu, Kilrush in west Clare.

‘Man of his era’

Solicitor, Michael Ryan for the man said his client “is a man of his era” and did not understand the laws of attraction when one party clearly indicates to the other that they are not interested and that is ignored and this is what happened on this occasion when the woman was slapped by his client in a public place.

In response, Judge Larkin told Mr Ryan “you speak of this man being a man of an era but let me speak to you as being a woman of that era”.

Judge Larkin said that she had “on numerous occasions had to suffer inappropriate behaviour from men” who don’t have any respect for women.

Judge Larkin said: “That is what it comes back to. It is a lack of respect for the weaker sex, a lack of respect for the female gender. Men do not learn that you cannot touch or strike a woman – or anybody.”

Judge Larkin said that she accepted that the man – accompanied to court by his sister – was drunk on the date and also accepted “the dreadful effect” the man’s acquired brain injury had on him after being assaulted around the head with an iron bar during his 20 years in the UK.

She said: “Whatever era you are from, you need to bring yourself up to date to say that you cannot conduct yourself like that.”

Judge Larkin stated that what occurred was in some ways “a very unfortunate, stupid incident”.

Judge Larkin stated that the complainant – who was not present in court for the sentencing hearing – had provided a victim impact statement and made the point that this behaviour is not acceptable.

Convicting the man of sexual assault, Judge Larkin applied a Probation Bond for the next 12 months.

Judge Larkin : “It is a sad and sorry state of affairs.”

Addressing Judge Larkin on the case, Mr Ryan said: “There are no winners in this case. My client will pay a high price for this. Family friendships have been damaged and all that follows from this.

Mr Ryan said that in his initial consultation with his client, his client “may not have grasped the seriousness of the matter but after a couple of further meetings and with the family situation and friendships deteriorating he began to grasp the seriousness”.

Mr Ryan said that his client is remorseful. He said: “You will see the Probation Report and he was able to describe how she might have felt uneasy and hurt – that he had breached the boundaries of friendship by touching her inappropriately in a public place.”

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