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Dublin: 18 °C Monday 23 July, 2018
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Man found guilty of sexually assaulting woman he met through Tinder

He will be sentenced on 15 December.

Image: Shutterstock/ThomasDeco

A JURY HAS convicted a man of a sex attack on a woman during a date arranged through the Tinder dating app.

The woman told the trial of the 36-year-old Dublin man that she thought he was taking her for a coffee when he picked her up in his car. She said the man drove her to a secluded field on UCD campus and his demeanour changed completely and he became like “a monster”.

She said he attacked her and she was in fear of her life and thought the man was going to rape her.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the woman on UCD campus, south Dublin on 23 July 2014.

Shortly after noon today, having deliberated for around 90 minutes, the jury of six men and six women returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on the single count.

Neither the accused nor the victim showed any reaction when the verdict was delivered. Judge Cormac Quinn made an order declaring the man a sex offender and remanded him in continuing custody to 15 December next for sentencing.

After the jury left the courtroom, the man told his lawyers “I don’t accept that verdict”.

The woman, now aged 35, told the trial she had come to Ireland to learn English and had arrived the previous month. She said she was using Tinder as a way to meet people and practice speaking.

After some weeks of communicating with the accused on the Tinder dating app and on Whatsapp, she arranged to meet him. She said she believed they were going for a coffee, but the man later told gardaí that he saw the date as a “hook up” for sex.

He picked her up in his car, a blue BMW, and drove her to a secluded field on UCD campus. The woman said that he then “changed completely”, becoming aggressive and sexually assaulting her.

After his arrest, the man told gardaí that while in the car he leaned in to kiss the woman and that she pushed him away and he moved away. He said she then became hysterical and “freaked out” before jumping out of the car. He then drove off.

Investigating gardaí put it to the man that nobody would react like that over a kiss. They asked him if he had “lost it” and got angry because she had knocked him back.

He denied this and said he was just nervous because of her reaction.

Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, told the jurors that they might feel the woman was naive, foolish and awfully stupid but that did not give anyone the right to attack her.

He said that simply agreeing to meet someone did not make them fair game. He said the complainant was not looking for sex and at no stage did she show an interest in meeting the man for sex.

“Everyone has the right to say no to sexual advances. No-one is entitled to force themselves on another, to kiss or force themselves on another,” he said.

He said there was no reason for the woman to lie and it was highly unlikely that a woman would travel here, three years after the events in question, to mislead or make false allegations.

He asked why someone would subject themselves to what she had undergone in the courtroom, unless she was telling the truth.

Burns said that despite a lengthy and gruelling cross-examination, her core testimony had not been shaken by the defence.

A victim impact statement from the woman will be given to the court on the next date.

Comments have been closed as sentencing is due.

Read: ‘Being naive doesn’t give anyone the right to sexually assault you’ – Tinder case reaches closing speeches

Read: Woman who accused man she met on Tinder of assault wasn’t asked about time in laneway, court hears

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Declan Brennan

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