A CAPE Clear barman who sexually assaulted a customer after he drove her home and brought her on a tour of the island in the early hours, has been sentenced to two years in jail.
A jury had earlier this month reached a unanimous verdict of guilty in the case against Duncan Harper described as a ferryman and a barman on the island, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, on two counts of sexually assaulting the young woman in 2019 when he drove her home from the Club Chéire pub.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the 34-year-old had shown no remorse for the crime.
‘The victim was left on her own. After the defendant, who was the barman, closed up, he offered a lift to two workmen on the island and to the victim. It was central to the defence that he did not know which hostel she was staying in,’ said Judge Ó Donnabháin.
‘I find that entirely incredible, that he did not know where she was living when he went on an excursion around the island,’ he added.
The judge also said the account by the victim, who was in her twenties, was ‘entirely truthful.’
‘He brought her on an excursion around the island and assaulted her by placing his hand upon her breast and also putting his hand on her elsewhere.
‘Anyone in the court could see the enormous distress — the palpable agony — the victim went through giving evidence by the mere reciting of the events,’ the judge continued.
‘Reliving of the events is a torment for the victim almost as bad as the assaults. I saw this as a serious case. This honest, reliable, concerned girl was assaulted in his vehicle.’
The court heard that Duncan Harper was a full-time carer for his father who has been blind since childhood.
Defence barrister Stephen O’Donoghue said the accused was a hard-working man, active in co-operative activities for the betterment of the local industry in Cape Clear, and some of that work he had done in a voluntary capacity.
The woman said during the course of the trial that she had been awake for almost 24 hours at the time of the disputed incident.
She said she had dozed off in the front seat of Duncan Harper’s van and that the accused man put his hand over and put it inside her top and her bra and on to her right breast.
She said the second sexual assault consisted of him putting his hand up her dress, high up her leg, close to her private area.
She said the assault had battered her confidence and taken two years from her life.