A 71-YEAR-old man who carried out a series of sexual assaults against a woman has avoided jail but has been told to ‘stay away’ from the complainant in future.
Robert Patterson of Lakeview House, Ballinacarriga, Dunmanway appeared at the circuit court which was hearing appeals in Bandon. He appealed the severity of an eight-month jail sentence which he received in the district court for nine counts of sexual assault, on various dates between 2018 and 2020.
Reporting restrictions were imposed by Judge Helen Boyle to ensure that the complainant cannot be identified.
The court heard that the minor sexual assaults began in 2018 with the defendant coming up behind the woman and grabbing her on the backside on a number of occasions, and making lewd remarks and sexually suggestive comments.
The most serious of the incidents occurred when the defendant and the complainant were in a car where he pushed back her seat and grabbed her breasts, from outside her clothes.
Insp Ian O’Callaghan said that the defendant forced his head onto her breasts and tried to open her bra. He also tried to kiss her.
Barrister Brendan Kelly said his client had no previous convictions up until this and that he has written a letter of apology to the complainant. Mr Kelly handed into court three medical reports which indicated that his client is experiencing declining cognitive capacity with early onset dementia, which they said might go some way to explaining his actions. He also said his client has offered compensation of €10,000. ‘He is sorry and will do his best to stay away from her,’ said the barrister.
Judge Boyle said that there was no doubt the incidents were very stressful for the complainant, as well as the trauma of being examined when the case was first heard in the district court. ‘These were minor sexual assaults, but it doesn’t make it any less distressing. I read her impact statement and accept that this type of predatory behaviour can cause lasting distress for her and her family,’ said Judge Boyle, who suspended the eight-month sentence for 12 months on condition that he stay away from the complainant.
She was told that the complainant did not want to accept the compensation money, but Judge Boyle said her preference was that she should accept it.
‘If not, I can distribute it to different charities,’ said Judge Boyle. The judge added that she would look at this matter again on July 18th.