herald

Sunday 27 May 2018

Man on trial over alleged UCD Tinder date sexual assault

University College Dublin
University College Dublin

A man has gone on trial charged with the sexual assault of a woman he met on the Tinder dating app.

The 36-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of the alleged victim at the University College Dublin (UCD) campus, Belfield, south Dublin, on July 23, 2014.

Opening the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court case for the prosecution yesterday, Paul Burns told the jury the accused and the alleged victim made initial contact on the Tinder "website".

They then moved on to communicating with each other by text messages.

The court heard that on the day of the alleged assault, the accused met with the woman and picked her up in his car from her city centre flat.

Mr Burns said the man took her to a secluded park on the UCD campus where he parked the car and then proceeded to sexually assault her.

Mr Burns described how the accused kissed the woman, then became aggressive.

He said he held her by the arm, put his hand up her dress, touching her thighs and interfered with the upper part of her clothing.

The woman was telling the accused to stop and struggled with him, Mr Burns continued.

He said she was then struck on the head by the defendant.

Mr Burns told the jury that the woman's evidence would be that the man tried to prevent her getting out the car, but she managed to and he drove off.

The prosecutor added that he was only giving a thumbnail sketch of what he anticipated would be heard in evidence and that his summary was not evidence in itself.

Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury of six men and six women that they must not research the case on the internet or Google and must not talk to anyone outside the jury about the case.

Warning

He said if any of the jurors saw another member of the jury researching the case, they should report that immediately.

He told the jury that this was a standard warning issued to all jurors.

He added that if members of the jury panel or anyone close to them had been the victim of a sexual assault and this meant that they would not be in a position to be impartial or objective, they should not serve on the jury.

The trial continues today.

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