Wednesday 20 March 2019

Festival-goer is jailed for sex assault on victim who was 'almost unconscious'

Steven Hennessy was jailed
Steven Hennessy was jailed

A man who sexually assaulted a "seriously drunk" and "almost unconscious" woman at a festival has been jailed for 10 months.

Steven Hennessy (38), who was also highly intoxicated, was seen by a nearby group to be putting his hand in the trousers of the woman, who "looked like she was about to pass out".

Det Gda Adrian Buckley told Diarmuid Collins, prosecuting, that the victim did not really remember anything until she woke up in a medical hut and heard a man had been arrested for sexually assaulting her.

She was unsure how she ended up on her own.

She was shocked and embarrassed and had no recollection of anyone being intimate with her.

Det Gda Buckley said that earlier in the evening, a group of friends had observed two people sitting opposite them.

The accused man had his arm around a girl, who was swaying.

They saw the man put his hand down the girl's pants and saw what they believed to be a penetrating action.

One of the group went over to Hennessy and told him this was completely inappropriate.

Hennessy, formerly of Hollybank Road, Drumcondra, Dublin, and originally from Carlow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault of the woman, in Dublin, in September last year.

Judge Martin Nolan noted yesterday that the victim was "seriously drunk and in an almost unconscious state".

He said Hennessy was also "severely intoxicated" and could not be interviewed by gardai until the following day.


Hennessy made full admissions during the interview. He said the victim had been awake but accepted he should have asked her if she consented.

He said it had been "stupid, drunken bravery" and said he was "100pc sorry".

Judge Nolan said it could be suggested that Hennessy had "almost perfect mitigation", thanks to his co-operation and admissions, guilty plea and expression of "true remorse".

He had a good work record and had lost his job as a result of his behaviour.

Hennessy had no previous convictions.

Tony McGillicuddy, defending, said Hennessy had brought to court €10,000 as compensation for the woman as a token of remorse.

The judge dismissed financial matters to the civil courts.

Judge Nolan said a custodial sentence was always mandated in such cases except in exceptional circumstances, which he did not find in this case.

The judge said Hennessy would probably not have committed the offence if sober, but that "inebriation and intoxication affords no defence".

He sent Hennessy to prison for two years, with 14 months suspended on strict conditions.

Judge Nolan said the offence had been a "reprehensible act" despite excellent mitigation.

Mr McGillicuddy said Hennessy, who has a degree in business and French and a stockbroking diploma, had an excellent work history but had recently lost his job.

He said his client's job prospects were now poor.

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