Man avoids jail term after sexually assaulting 11-year-old girl

A student who sexually assaulted an 11-year old girl by squeezing her bottom and chasing her has received a three-year suspended sentence.

Daniel Edwards (aged 19) of Clonuske View, Balbriggan was 17 at the time of the offence.

The victim - who cannot be named – identified Edwards in a line-up.

Edwards had one previous conviction for a similar offence for which he had received a two-year suspended sentence in 2008.

Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, said the family of the victim were present at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and submitted a victim impact statement.

He told the court that the accused was sitting on a wall outside a shop when he saw the girl cycling past and followed her.

Mr Quinn said Edwards asked the girl “Do you want to earn a fiver?” to which she replied “Go away”.

He then squeezed the girl’s bottom and said “Sexy” and chased her when she ran away, until she went into a friend’s house for safety.

The court heard that the girl, who is now aged 13, has been visiting a school counsellor about the assault and is going to continue to do this weekly.

Defence counsel Isobel Kennedy SC said that Edwards has finished his Leaving Cert and is now applying to colleges to study creative media courses.

She said Edwards has not been in trouble since this offence and is fully compliant with the terms of probation, signing on daily and attending a Northside Inter Agency Project, where he is said to be making “enormous progress”.

Ms Kennedy said Edwards experienced “shame and guilt” after the offence, that he has accepted full responsibility it and that he and has managed to rehabilitate himself, although she said this is “an ongoing process”.

Judge Patricia Ryan said the serious nature of the assault and the impact on the victim had to be taken in account for sentencing.

The judge also said that Edwards cannot approach the victim or her family, based on concerns expressed in the victim impact statement.

She imposed a three-year suspended sentence on strict conditions.

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