Care assistant has conviction for sexually assaulting female patient at Mater Private upheld by Court of Appeal

A man who sexually assaulted a patient while working as a care assistant at a private hospital in Dublin has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Folajimmy Awode (32) of Ballinteer House, Tyrellstown, Dublin had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles Street in November 2013.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to two years imprisonment with the final six months suspended by Judge Patricia Ryan on July 21, 2015.

In bringing an appeal against conviction, counsel for Awode, Kevin White BL, submitted that the trial judge erred in her directions to the jury.

Folajimmy Awode.

Mr White said the trial judge failed to advise the jury as to the nature and purpose of complaint evidence and failed to advise the jury on the purpose of that evidence - that it only went to the consistency of the complainant's evidence and not the facts.

Furthermore, Mr White submitted that the trial judge failed to adequately put forward the defence's case.

Mr White said the defence's case was that she was clearly mistaken and “arguably dreaming”, that Awode was entitled to be on the ward and the injured party gave evidence that was not necessarily consistent.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Elva Duffy BL, said the evidence in controversy was used to attack the credibility of the witness on the basis that the complainant may have been dreaming and she may have said that to another witness.

Dismissing his appeal today, Mr Justice John Edwards said the evidence that was said to represent complaint evidence was adduced by the prosecution at the urging or behest of the defence. It was done so to facilitate a collateral attack on the complainant's credibility.

Mr Justice Edwards said the trial judge was obliged to give the jury particular instructions on complaint evidence. However, while ideally it should have been given, the failure to give such an instruction did not necessarily render the trial unsatisfactory and the conviction unsafe.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the court was not disposed to uphold any grounds and the appeal was dismissed.

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