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Man accused of lewd act in public toilet grabbed garda during incident, court hears

The man pleaded guilty to engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature.

Image: Shutterstock/Tony Stock

A CHEF GRABBED an undercover garda’s backside while exposing himself and performing a lewd act in the public toilets of a Marks & Spencer department store in Dublin, a court has heard.

Bruno da Silva, 31, of Fort Ostman, Crumlin, Dublin 12, pleaded guilty today to masturbating and engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature at the men’s toilets in the store on Mary Street, in the city-centre.

He was caught during an undercover garda surveillance operation at the department store men’s room on June 16 last.

Dublin District Court heard something came over da Silva after he “read the signals wrong”.

Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned sentencing until a date in September for a probation report to be prepared. The court needed to know why da Silva had engaged in this behaviour, he said.

The charges were under the Sexual Offences Act.

After hearing an outline of the facts, Judge Smyth held the case should be dealt with at district court level and not in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

The married Brazilian, who has lived in Ireland for four years, was granted bail, but has been ordered to stay away from the department store.

In evidence, Garda Seamus Donoghue told Judge Smyth plain clothes gardaí set up an operation in the toilets.

One of them went into the men’s room and turned to see da Silva behind him at which the accused produced his penis and began masturbating in front of the garda.

“The garda walked behind him. He was still masturbating and he then grabbed the bottom of the plain clothes garda,” the court heard.

The officer took out his official ID and a second plainclothes officer came into the toilet room, the court heard.

Da Silva was co-operative and apologetic on arrest, and he made a voluntary statement admitting his actions.

No members of the public were present at the time.

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Da Silva, who has no prior criminal convictions, did not address the court and made no reply to charges.

Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Paddy McGarry said his client was unaware they were undercover gardaí. He had worked mostly as a chef but found it hard during the pandemic and was going to therapy, the solicitor said.

“He was in Marks and Spencer, something came over him, he did not mean to distress anyone,” he added.

Da Silva “read the signals wrong”, he explained. The offence took place in a public toilet but there had been an element of privacy, the solicitor said.

He also submitted that a conviction would be seriously detrimental for his client. He asked the judge to note the guilty plea came at an early stage and that da Silva had brought €200 to court.

Judge Smyth said he needed to adjourn sentencing for a probation report to be furnished to the court.

About the author:

Tom Tuite

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