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Man accused of pinching hospital worker's bum as she locked up her bike

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Patrick O’Connor leaves Dublin District Court after the hearing

Patrick O’Connor leaves Dublin District Court after the hearing

Patrick O’Connor leaves Dublin District Court after the hearing

A man sexually assaulted a staff member at a city hospital by pinching her bottom as she locked up her bike after arriving for work, it has been alleged.

A court heard that Patrick O'Connor (39) was stopped and held at the scene by another hospital worker who witnessed the alleged assault.

Judge Michael Walsh granted the accused bail despite garda objections and adjourned the case at Dublin District Court for the directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr O'Connor, of no fixed address, is charged with sex- ually assaulting the woman on July 30.

Objecting to bail, the prosecuting garda cited the seriousness of the allegations.

Innocence

Outlining the prosecution's case, he said it was alleged the accused approached a female member of staff outside the A&E department at 7.20am.

She had cycled to work and was putting her bike in a rack.

"He approached from behind and pinched her buttocks with his right hand," the garda said.

The accused tried to leave the area, but was stopped by another staff member.

Gardai arrived and Mr O'Connor was arrested and charged.

On the strength of the prosecution evidence, the garda said the incident was captured on CCTV and the accused could be "clearly seen assaulting the female".

Mr O'Connor was arrested while wearing the same clothing as was seen in the footage, the garda said.

The accused accepted it was a serious charge, but he was entitled to a presumption of innocence, his barrister Garrett Casey said.

Applying for bail, Mr Casey said he did not believe the gardai had made adequate grounds for a refusal.

Judge Walsh said the charge was serious, although it app-eared to be at the "lower end" of the scale for sexual assault.

Although the CCTV evidence "appears to be overwhelming" and the court had been told the accused could be clearly seen touching the woman, Mr O'Connor was presumed innocent and the onus was on the prosecution to show bail should be refused.

He said the purpose of bail was to ensure an accused turned up for trial and did not engage in criminal behaviour pending that.

"I think it's a case that can be dealt with by very strict conditions," the judge said.

He granted bail in the acc-used's own bond of €500, with no cash lodgment required.

Mr O'Connor must sign on daily at a garda station, have no contact directly or indirectly with the alleged victim or her family and stay away from St James's Hospital.

The judge said this last condition applied except for bona fide, pre-arranged appointments, after the accused said he had to go back for a scan.

Judge Walsh remanded the accused on bail, to appear in court in November.


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