Chef caught in lewd act in M&S public toilet avoids prison sentence

Chef caught in lewd act in M&S public toilet avoids prison sentence

 Bruno da Silva of Fort Ostman, Old County Road, Crumlin was fined €400 after he pleaded guilty to masturbating and engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature. Picture: Collins Courts

A chef who grabbed an undercover garda’s backside while exposing himself in public toilets of a Marks & Spencer store in Dublin has been spared a custodial sentence.

Bruno da Silva, 32, of Fort Ostman, Crumlin, Dublin 12, was fined €400 after he pleaded guilty to masturbating and engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature at the men's toilets in the store on Mary Street in the city centre.

Dublin District Court heard undercover gardaí arrested him in a surveillance operation on June 16 last year.

Judge Bryan Smyth had asked the Probation Service to draft a pre-sentence report because the court needed to know why da Silva had engaged in this behaviour.

Defence solicitor Paddy McGarry pleaded for leniency and asked the court to note the report was positive. Earlier, Da Silva had sought an adjournment for the Probation Service to carry out a “fuller assessment” before the court finalised his case.

His engagement so far improved his insight, the judge was told.

Imposing the fine, Judge Smyth said the court regards this as a serious matter and found it should proceed to convict.

Plainclothes operation

In evidence, Garda Seamus Donoghue had told Judge Smyth earlier that plainclothes gardaí set up an operation in the toilets.

One of them went into the men's room and turned to see da Silva behind him, at which the accused produced his penis and began masturbating in front of the undercover officer.2

“The garda walked behind him. He was still masturbating, and he then grabbed the bottom of the plainclothes garda."

The officer took out his official ID and a second undercover garda came into the toilet room, the court heard.

Da Silva was cooperative and apologetic on arrest, and he made a voluntary statement admitting his actions.

No members of the public were present at the time.

Da Silva, a married Brazilian who has lived in Ireland for four years, has no prior criminal convictions.

He had worked mainly as a chef but found it hard during the pandemic and went to therapy.

“He was in Marks & Spencer, something came over him. He did not mean to distress anyone,” his solicitor said, adding he “read the signals wrong”.

The offence took place in a public toilet, but there had been an element of privacy, the defence also submitted.

The court has heard the men's public toilets in the department store had become known as a venue to engage in sexual activities last year.

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