Cork teenager cleared of sexual assault in lift

The jury in a sex assault trial took less that three hours to decide that the teenager did not carry out a sex assault on a woman in the lift of her apartment building in Cork.

The defendant, aged 17, was on trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where he admitted falsely imprisoning the woman in the lift and assault causing harm but he denied the charge of sexual assault.

Cleared of the sex attack, he was remanded in custody for sentencing on the other two charges today.

Dermot Sheehan, prosecuting, said the defendant claimed in his interview with the gardaí that he was trying to rob the woman and not sexually assault her. However, Mr Sheehan said the injured party had a bag over her shoulder throughout the incident and that this contained her phone and her purse and the teenager did not attempt to take any of this property.

Alice Fawsett, defending, submitted to the jury that they could not use the admission by the teenager to the charges of assault causing harm and falsely imprisoning the victim as evidence to support a finding that he probably sexually assaulted the woman .

“There is no doubt he gave her a horrible time. That does not mean he sexually assaulted her as well,” said Ms Fawsett.

The woman, originally from France, told the jury she was followed by a young man and sexually attacked in the lift after a night out on St Stephen’s Day.

She said that. while walking home at 6.30am, a man asked her the time and she said she did not know. He then asked her for a kiss and she supposed that she had misheard him. However, he kept asking for a kiss and she said that he followed her home and forced his way into the building despite her efforts to hold him back.

She said he came into the lift after her and was standing very close to her and again kept repeating his request for a kiss.

“He repeatedly tried to lift me up, putting his hand under my bum,” she said. “It was just ‘can I have a kiss?’ on constant. I tried to push him away at this stage. I was very afraid of the violence.”

She was eventually able to flee and got to a nearby hotel, where the alarm was raised.

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