By Sonya McLean
A man who sexually assaulted a young girl while she was visiting his daughter has been jailed for four years.
The 49-year-old had denied the charge but was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury last May.
He had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the six-year-old girl in Dublin on October 1, 2016.
Judge Elma Sheahan noted that there had been three trials before the man was ultimately convicted by a jury and acknowledged that the child had to give evidence twice.
She said the victim impact statement was “very sad reading”, “what she had to go through when her only fault was to play in a friend’s house”, but she added she was glad to hear that the girl has been resilient throughout the process.
Judge Sheahan said the offence represented a “significant breach of trust when a child goes to play with a friend and is put in such danger”.
She sentenced the man to four years in prison after noting that the man is currently serving a long prison sentence on a more serious matter and is due for release in 2023.
The investigating garda said the man was in the sitting room with the victim and her friend (his daughter) and the children were struggling with the iPad they were looking at. The man’s partner asked him to assist the girls with the device.
The girl later told gardaí that while the man was sitting next to her, he put his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina outside of her underwear.
The girl told her mother what happened and the man was arrested and interviewed. He denied the allegation.
A victim impact statement, which was prepared by the child’s mother, was handed into court but not read out.
The garda agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that his client’s mother died at a young age having suffered mental health issues
Mr Kelly said the man’s father was an alcoholic and bullied and abused him throughout his life, which led to his client developing a very serious drink problem and gambling addiction.