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20 Aug 2022

Man in court accused of engaging in sex act at beach popular with Limerick people

Man in court accused of engaging in sex act at beach popular with Limerick people

Ennis Courthouse

A MOTHER has described her shock at seeing a naked man performing a sex act in front of children at a beach popular with Limerick people.

At Ennis District Court, the woman said the man was standing, leaning against rocks at Lahinch beach as he carried out the solo sex act on August 28, last.

The woman - who was on a day trip in Lahinch with her family - told the court that seeing the man performing the act "made me shocked, especially as he was facing children".

The woman phoned gardai to report what she had seen. She told the court it was the second time that day she phoned gardai in relation to the man.

The witness said she first phoned gardai after seeing the man - who lives in Limerick - to her right standing up naked with an erection facing towards the water.

The man denies engaging in a solo sex act in a public place likely to cause fear and alarm in others and exposing his genitals intending to cause fear, distress or alarm to another person in a public place.

Garda Paul Hehir told the court that in response to the first call, gardai arrived at the beach and spoke to the male. He stated  the man said that if he was nude, it was innocent as he was changing swimwear at the time.

Garda Hehir said the man was wearing speedos when he arrived at the beach. The defendant, he added, was not present when gardai arrived following the second phone call.

In a subsequent interview, the man told gardai that he did not engage in a solo sex act.

“No - definitely not,” he said adding: “I didn’t expose myself to anyone - I thought I was on my own.”

The man told gardai that he was in a secluded part of the beach away from people on what, he said, was the hottest day of the year.

The man - living in Limerick - had cycled from Ennis to Lahinch on the day.

Asked at interview about being nude at the beach, the defendant - represented by solicitor, Daragh Hassett - said: “If I was naked I was naked - I could have been standing up, I was facing the sun. I was not aware of people there."

He added: “Erection or no erection? I don’ know. It is up to them to judge.”

The man went on to say: “Sometimes I sunbathe naked on naturist beaches. I do sunbathe naked while reading. I thought I was on my own.”

In court the man repeated his denials of engaging in a solo sex act at the beach and insisted he was only naked when changing his swimming shorts.

The man lives with his partner and child in Limerick and arrived in Ireland in 2020.

Judge Alec Gabbett adjourned the case until next Wednesday when he will deliver his verdict.

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