herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Man 'exposed himself in front of club goers'

A MAN was caught exposing and touching himself in a laneway outside Copperface Jack's as he watched women making their way to the popular nightclub, a court heard.

Brendan Curtis (50) was arrested after gardai saw him "pleasure himself" as groups of girls passed by.

Judge James Faughnan found him guilty of a public order offence at Dublin District Court and adjourned sentencing for six months.

The accused had previously been charged with "offending modesty" in the same incident. However, that offence was struck down by the High Court after a legal challenge by Curtis, and the new charge was brought by gardai.

Curtis, of Martry, Kells, Co Meath pleaded not guilty to using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour to cause a breach of the peace.

The incident happened at Camden Place on May 26, 2013.

Garda Caoimhe Finnegan told the court she was on duty at 1.20am when she saw a man in a doorway.

The garda thought initially he was going to the toilet but as she watched, she saw him touch himself every time a group of people walked past.

Cross-examined by defence cousel Sorcha Whelan BL, Gda Finnegan said she was alone and did not feel comfortable approaching the accused until a colleague arrived. She did not believe the accused had been urinating and found his actions "personally insulting."

OFFENSIVE

A second garda said he saw the accused "begin to what I would call masturbate" as women passed. A lot of people were making their way to Copperface Jack's and Dicey Reilly's nightclubs and the accused's actions "would have been offensive to women".

The garda also felt if women's partners had seen the accused it "could have led to a violent situation".

Ms Whelan said the prosecution's evidence was insufficient and that the gardai had brought the wrong charge, when the accused could have been charged with offensive conduct under the same Act.

Judge Faughnan said he was satisfied the State had made out its case. Ms Whelan said the accused was not going into evidence. There had been no aggression involved in the incident and he apologised for his behaviour.

The defendant lived alone and suffered from depression and had been drinking excessively after his mother died.

Judge Faughnan adjourned the case against Curtis "to see how he behaves".

Curtis was one of two men who successfully challenged prosecutions brought against them for "offending modesty" under the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990. In April, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan struck the offence down at the High Court, ruling that it was unconstitutional.

hnews@herald.ie

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