By Stephen Bourke
A man caught by a Luas passenger surreptitiously using his phone to take pictures up a woman’s skirt has been given a nine month suspended sentence.
Francesco Lampasi (43), of Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, Dublin 18, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature on the southbound Green Line tram as from the city centre to Bride’s Glen on August 2, 2019.
Garda Karl O’Neill of Dundrum Garda Station told Eoin Lawlor, BL, prosecuting, that a passenger noticed Lampasi holding his mobile phone down by his side as he was alongside a woman on the tram.
The passenger, Mr Martin Smith, said in a statement he saw a colour on the screen which happened to be the same as the woman’s skirt and the colour of skin, and realised something was wrong.
Gda O’Neill said the woman left the tram and has never been traced.
Mr Smith accosted Lapasi and demanded to see the gallery app on his phone.
“Mr Smith considered the photos to be untoward,” Gda O’Neill said.
At Dundrum, he insisted Lampasi get off the tram and wait with him for the arrival of gardaí, the court heard.
Lampasi was initially arrested and had his phone seized, and later agreed to be interviewed voluntarily under caution.
“Extra-close-up photos of buttocks and genitals of women” were found when the mobile phone was analysed, Gda O’Neill said.
Lampasi accepted taking such photos was inappropriate, and that by doing so he had “taken advantage of the girl”, Gda O’Neill said.
Other photos of the same nature of “women who are clearly on the Luas” were also found on the device taken on the previous day, he said, though these were not included in the charges.
Barry White SC, defending, said Lampasi was “under no obligation to show photos to Mr Smith, nor wait for gardaí”.
“If he was more aggressive or daunting he could have told him where to go,” he said.
Mr White said Lampasi works for the IT department of a major accountancy firm and is married with one small child.
“This has had a very traumatic effect on his wife,” he said.
“He wishes to have this matter put behind him and return to Italy.”
“I won’t say, judge, that this is a victimless crime.
“The victim has the good fortune not to be aware, has no revulsion or disgust of the act.”
He said his client had a sum of €2,000 with him in court available to donate to charity.
Judge Martin Nolan said Lampasi was using his mobile to take photos up the skirts of a particular lady and was noticed by a bystander.
He said the fact the accused waited for gardaí at Dundrum “shows to me Mr Lampasi has a certain level of remorse for his actions.”
He said Lampasi’s family situation and work history were mitigating factors too.
Judge Nolan imposed a nine months sentence of imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on condition of good behaviour. He also ordered the sum of €2,000 be given to the prosecuting garda to be donated to a suitable charity in the Dundrum area.
“If he was to repeat this behaviour, the outcome would be significantly different,” Judge Nolan added.