Restaurateur convicted of sex assault on woman

A West Cork restaurateur has been convicted of sexually assaulting a woman dining at his premises.

John Murphy, aged 58, of Murphy’s Restaurant, East End House, Castletownbere, Co Cork, was convicted by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin remanded him in custody for sentencing on Mar 14.

The jury verdict was an 11–1 majority in favour of a guilty verdict against Murphy on the charge of sexually assaulting the woman on Sept 22, 2009.

Murphy had denied the charge, claiming through Brian Leahy, defending, that whatever happened was by consent.

However, Mr Leahy said the defendant accepted the verdict of the jury and offered €10,000 for the injured party in compensation.

Donal McCarthy, prosecuting, said the injured party would accept the payment as some consolation for what she had gone through.

Mr Leahy addressed Judge Ó Donnabháin on the issue of sentence and said: “I would ask the court to take into consideration his previous good history.

“My client has been very involved in the local community and he has given a lot and continues give a lot to the community.

“My client ran a trial and did so on very fair grounds. I would ask you to take it as a one-off event in a previous good history.”

The judge said: “I feel obliged to consider a custodial sentence or whether it is part suspended or not. I want to think about what was said today. I will remand him in custody until Mar 14 and I will consider all these matters.”

The injured party testified that she went for dinner in the restaurant after 6pm that day and went to the bathroom afterwards. She said that as she was leaving the toilet, the defendant approached her, lifted up her top, moved her bra and sucked her left nipple.

He then tried to put his hand inside her pants but did not succeed. She said that he put her hands down towards his crotch and she felt that his penis was exposed and erect.

She left the restaurant. She said that she had known the defendant prior to the incident.

He did not give evidence but claimed through his barrister what whatever happened on the occasion was entirely by consent. The injured party said it was not.

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