Two men get 18 months for sexually assaulting 'completely asleep' woman

Two men have been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage woman while she was slumped over on a couch in a private room in a Dublin nightclub.

Joshua Sykes (aged 22) and Adam McCabe (aged 21) both claimed they had no memory of the offence, but pointed themselves out on CCTV footage that showed them sexually assaulting the woman.

A hostess at the nightclub said the victim was “completely asleep” and barely woke up when she tried calling her and pushing her shoulders. This witness told gardaí that the man who was with her wasn't making much sense either.

Garda Shane McGuinn said though McCabe admitted he could be seen performing oral sex on the woman, he told gardaí: “I don't know where the sexual assault was though”.

He said the woman had been “well able to move around” and had been kissing him previously, but accepted that she was “drunk probably” in the footage.

On viewing the CCTV Sykes described the footage of him assaulting the woman as “disgusting”.

He had denied taking the woman's phone and money, as shown in the CCTV, but later admitted having the items and not being able to account for them.

McCabe, a father-of-one of Clusker Park, Navan, Co Meath, and Sykes, of Ardlo Manor, Mullagh, Co Cavan, both pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the 19-year-old woman at The Wright Venue, Swords, Dublin on a date in July 2017.

Both men each have one previous conviction for minor offences. The court heard they were attending a friend's 21st birthday party at the nightclub.

Judge Cormac Quinn said it was a “shocking case” and imposed a three-year sentence, with the final 18 months suspended, on each man.

Gda McGuinn told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that the woman had become separated from her friends while on a night out and recalled feeling “giddy and light-headed” after a few drinks.

She told gardaí her memory was hazy, but she recalled kissing a stranger and being in a room with two males. Her next memory is crying in a room with gardaí and feeling uncomfortable in her private area.

In her victim impact statement read out by Ms Small, the woman said that the incident led her to self-harm as she couldn't stop thinking about what happened.

She said she didn't get help for this, because she was ashamed. She added that she suffered panic attacks and anxiety and didn't drink or socialise anymore, because it would make her cry.

Gda McGuinn agreed with barristers for McCabe and Sykes that their clients had both entered early guilty pleas. He accepted that the men had been intoxicated on alcohol and drugs on the night.

Patrick McGrath SC, defending McCabe, submitted to Judge Quinn that his client's “shame is accompanied by deep remorse”. He said the offence was “totally out of character” and a “once-off spontaneous act” for McCabe.

He asked the judge to consider his client's exceptional intake of alcohol on the night as an explanation and not an excuse for the offending. He added that his client had “no doubt now” as to the consequences of his actions, having read the victim impact statement.

Michael Bowman SC, defending Sykes, submitted that his client has been described as caring, hardworking and loyal by his former partner.

Mr Bowman said Sykes had owned up and taken responsibility for the offence. He submitted that Sykes had communicated his disgust, shame and remorse for what he had done.

Judge Quinn noted that the woman was “a vulnerable person at the time who was preyed upon by both accused”.

He took into account the men's young ages, their early guilty pleas and their co-operation with The Probation Service. He further noted that McCabe had since been “vilified and ostracised on social media” and that Sykes had lost his job.

Gda McGuinn said a floor supervisor at The Wright Venue told gardaí that a male had approached him about a girl passed out in one of the private rooms.

The supervisor couldn't get into the room as he had no key fob, but when he looked in he saw a female with her head lying back against the couch and two males around her.

A nightclub hostess said she had seen a woman and two men kissing outside the private room earlier in the night and had told the group to go back into the suite.

She said when the floor supervisor informed her about a girl being passed out, she went straight to the room and saw the same woman now slumped on her side and male lying on her. She said this male had his hand on the woman's private parts.

The hostess said this woman was “completely asleep” and barely woke up when she tried calling her and pushing her shoulders.

She described how another man had approached to claim that the incident was harmless, and she told him that it was “nowhere near ok”.

Ms Small read out the transcript from CCTV footage of the incident which lasted just over five minutes. The transcript described Sykes putting the woman's phone and money from her purse into his jeans pocket.

He then digitally penetrated the woman while she was unresponsive on the couch, while McCabe placed his hand on her thigh. Sykes took a break to have a drink, then continued with digital penetration.

After this McCabe performed oral sex on the woman, who remained unresponsive on the couch.

Other pieces of the same footage showed the woman coming to briefly and then stumbling as she is helped out of the room by security staff.

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