A MIDDLE-aged man avoided a prison sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman during a drink and drugs fuelled party.
During a contested hearing, Gerard McInerney, aged 49, of Bishop’s Quay denied the charge, which related to an incident in the early hours of June 30, 2012.
Limerick District Court was told the defendant, who is married with children, had attended a 50th birthday party at a pub in the city before heading to a house party.
Inspector Seamus Ruane said the victim, who is aged in her mid 20s, also attended the party.
In evidence, the woman said when she left the house-party to go home at around 4.30am, she noticed the defendant “bending down” behind a number of parked cars as if he were hiding. She said he then approached her and “leaned in and tried to kiss me” before running away.
She then observed him “fiddling with his pants” before he approached her again. “He was kind of all over me, he was touching me and rubbing his hands all over me,” she said adding that he stopped when his wife shouted at him from the house.
Garda Pat Aherne said the defendant made a voluntary statement a number of days after the incident during which he admitted he had consumed around a dozen pints, four shots and a line of cocaine on the night.
He denied sexually assaulting the woman claiming the pair had been flirting with each other during the party.
“We kissed half-way up the cul-de-sac, she kissed me back,” Mr McInerney told gardai adding that his recollection of what happened on the night was “fuzzy” given the amount of alcohol and drugs he had consumed.
Convicting the accused, Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he had consumed a “shocking amount of alcohol” and he said he was satisfied his behaviour on the street was an “invasion of the personal space of the victim”.
Accepting submissions from solicitor John Herbert that Mr McInerney comes from a decent family and has no previous convictions, the judge imposed a six month prison sentence, which he suspended for a year.
Mr McInerney is appealing the conviction.