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Wednesday 13 November 2019

'It was her fault... she had nothing on' - groper grabbed woman on night out

Richard Duncan was found guilty of sexual assault. Photo: Frank McGrath
Richard Duncan was found guilty of sexual assault. Photo: Frank McGrath

A groper told gardai who arrested him for sexually assaulting a woman on a city street: "It's her fault, she should have covered up."

Richard Duncan (42) bragged that he was "tall and handsome" as he blamed the victim for what happened, saying it was "not his fault" as she had "nothing on".

Duncan was caught by a garda in a passing patrol car who saw him grab a nightclubber's bottom after the woman had left popular south Dublin venue Copper Face Jacks.

The woman, a medical student in her 20s on a night out after Valentine's Day, had earlier been "cat-called" by Duncan and was too scared to confront him.

Judge Paula Murphy found him guilty of sexual assault and adjourned sentencing at Dublin District Court.

Duncan, from Carrig Villas, Greystones, Co Wicklow, had pleaded not guilty.

The woman said she came out of the nightclub with a friend in the early hours of February 15, 2017, and they were walking on Camden Street when they first passed Duncan, who they did not know.

"He said to me as he was walking by 'you're looking well', or something like that," the victim said.

She might have told him to "go away" but she was not sure.

The two friends got food in a takeaway and then, half an hour later, they passed Duncan again as they walked back to the club.

After he had gone by, the victim said, he "grabbed at me just above my bum".

Dublin club Copper Face Jacks, where the woman had been enjoying a night out before the attack took place
Dublin club Copper Face Jacks, where the woman had been enjoying a night out before the attack took place

"I told him something along the lines of 'go away'. I was taken aback, I wasn't expecting it to happen. I was upset," she said.

In cross-examination, the woman told defence barrister Lydia Daly she had been drinking earlier, but not a huge amount and she "fully comprehended what was going on".

After the assault, she kept walking as she was "scared to start anything myself".

Shocked

She made a garda statement, but withdrew it as she had to prioritise her college work. However, she proceeded to give evidence in the court case.

Her friend told the court the pair ignored Duncan's initial comment. The victim then turned to her and said "he just grabbed my bum".

The friend was "shocked".

A garda car then drove over and Duncan was arrested.

Detective Garda Orla Moynihan said she was the observer in a patrol car driving up Camden Street at 2.50am when she saw two women walking past a man in a long coat.

"I observed him grab the backside and buttocks of the female in a red dress," the garda said.

When the gardai approached Duncan, "he told us to f**k off and we only work for Denis O'Brien", she said.

He was arrested and the victim pointed him out as having grabbed her from behind after making a comment "along the lines of cat-calling", Det Gda Moynihan said.

He was taken in the back of the car to a garda station and while still under caution, he said: "It's her own fault, she had nothing on. Not my fault, she didn't complain. I'm tall and handsome, women are chasing me. She should have covered up."

In cross-examination, Gda Moynihan denied that it was the victim's reaction - a jump - that she saw rather than the assault. She was 100pc sure she saw it, she said.

Ms Daly argued that the prosecution had not proved that the assault was sexual in nature because the victim had described being touched "above her bum", which "could be classified as the lower back area".

A State solicitor said it was "an area of the body that is quite personal" and was indecent to happen on a street at night.

Duncan's comments that the victim "should have covered up" were "telling of the attitude of the accused and his actions".

The accused did not give evidence and the judge found him guilty.

He had one previous conviction for refusal to give a sample under the Road Traffic Act.

Duncan had been in custody for a week after he went missing in the middle of the trial and was arrested and detained.

Judge Murphy granted him bail and adjourned sentencing to next year.

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