A father of two who preyed on a young man with a disability and then sexually assaulted him was handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay €15,000 to his victim.
John O’Callaghan previously lived in Castlefreke, Co Cork, but now resides in a motorhome in Timoleague, Co Cork, and is planning to move to the UK.
On August 4, 2016, the defendant was in Kilkenny as he was interested in setting up a business in the city in the licensed trade.
On the night in question, the injured party, whom the judge described as “an independent and resilient man, who has acted with dignity throughout this process” was sitting quietly, having a shandy and listening to live music in a popular city centre pub.
The injured party, who is in his 30s, has communication difficulties but has no intellectual disability.
The court heard that the 63-year-old defendant “pinned the injured party to the bar” and sexually assaulted him before the injured party pushed him away. The assault was captured on CCTV and the defendant was observed leaving the pub.
A victim impact statement was read out in court where the injured party described how he “was an outgoing, bubbly person who fought for his independence because of his disability”.
The statement outlined how after the assault the injured party was unable to sleep or eat and had nightmares and was unable to talk to his family. He also felt ashamed even though he knew he had done nothing wrong. He also stopped going out and stopped living in his own apartment.
The defendant had denied the charge but was convicted after a two-day trial by a jury.
At sentencing, Judge Patrick Meghen said that an aggravating factor was that “it was quite obvious that the defendant has a disability”.
There was an element of “preying on” this man, he added.
He sentenced the defendant, who has no previous convictions, to 18 months in prison, which he suspended on condition that he enter a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and have no contact with his victim.
He also ordered that the defendant pay €15,000 in compensation to the injured party within a month.
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