A 58-year-old man was put on a two-year peace bond yesterday after grabbing an English visitor to Cork by the buttocks as she waited at traffic lights.
Judge Aingil Ní Chondúin made it a €5,000 bond and said Patrick Vaughan would have to pay that money if he stepped out of line.
“I take matters like this very seriously. You expect to go about your business in safety,” the judge said, adding that a sexual assault was twice as unpleasant as any other offence coming before the district court.
Diane Hallahan, defending, said a €5,000 bond would be problematic if Vaughan had to pay it as he was dependent on social welfare. The judge said he would only have to pay it if he stepped out of line again in the next two years.
“It is up to him to keep his bond. If he sets a foot astray it will cost him. I have not asked him for compensation. I’m warning him to take me seriously, I mean business,” said Judge Ní Chondúin.
Inspector Ronan Kenneally said €453 expenses had been incurred by the victim returning to Cork for the court case. Ms Hallahan said Vaughan would have difficulty paying this and she complained that none of the expenses were vouched.
Judge Ní Chondúin said of the complaint about paying the expenses, “That is a bit Irish. She was minding her own business. He brought everyone here [by carrying out the sexual assault]… I am not in the mood to be argued with.”
Judge Ní Chondúin said the expenses would have to be paid by Vaughan within two months.
When the matter was heard initially, there was evidence Vaughan had denied the sexual assault, claiming it was a Special Branch setup and that the woman had been paid to testify against him.
The victim went to the trouble and expense of flying to Cork to give evidence in the trial of Vaughan, of Oaklodge, Douglas Rd, but he pleaded guilty as the case was about to commence at Cork District Court.
Det Garda Ian Coughlan said the injured party, who is aged in her 40s, was visiting Cork on May 9, 2014, and was on her way from Cork City to where she was staying in the Douglas area that night.
Shortly after passing St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Rd, she was stopped at traffic lights and grabbed on her buttocks by a man. She slapped the man across the face and he stumbled over. As he got up, she slapped him a second time.
Vaughan said to her: “I apologise, I am schizophrenic.” He ran back towards the city.
She gave a description to gardaí of the man who sexually assaulted her. That description included the black mariner’s style cap worn by her attacker. Gardaí later went to the home of Vaughan and he accepted responsibility.
He later said he was not compos mentis (of sound mind) at the time he made the admission.
Ms Hallahan said this claim gave some indication of Vaughan’s state of mind. She said he apologised immediately and made admissions. She said nobody could explain his behaviour.
Judge Ní Chondúin said: “It was an awful, frightening thing. She did not know what was going to happen next. She was a stranger coming to visit.”
Det Garda Coughlan said Vaughan was convicted of two previous sexual assaults in 2004 and 2014 and had begging convictions.
A background psychiatric report was taken into consideration by the judge.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved