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Man jailed for four months for sexually assaulting student on bus

The man said he was disgusted with himself and pleaded guilty to the offence.

Image: Getty Images

A DUBLIN MAN with schizophrenia has been jailed for four months for sexually assaulting a student upstairs on a public bus.

The now 20-year-old woman saw Paul Callaghan (32) masturbating on a seat opposite hers and muttering about “the system” being corrupt before he sat beside her and stroked her thigh.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard other young people in the surrounding seats initially moved away while Callaghan was staring the woman in the face and shouting, “Don’t be scared, don’t be scared”.

Garda James Codd said Callaghan then took his penis out of his tracksuit bottoms, told the woman he was “eight” when she asked his age and became “irate” when he was called a paedophile.

Callaghan then went downstairs on the bus shouting about the system being a lie and people being “rats”.

Callaghan, with an address at Ashfield, Templeogue, pleaded guilty t to sexual assault on the No 75 Dublin Bus between Dun Laoghaire and Nutgrove on 16 December 2016. He has 18 previous convictions, including 14 public order offences.

‘Shocking experience’

Judge Martin Nolan described the offence as “a shocking experience” for the injured party and said Callaghan deserved a custodial sentence as a warning.

He said Callahan’s “pattern of misbehaviour” involved drunkenness and intoxication when he “escapes from the control of his medication”.

The judge imposed a two-year sentence, suspended the final 20 months and ordered that Callaghan undergo 12 months’ post-release probation service supervision. The court heard the bus driver called gardaí and they arrested Callaghan shortly after he disembarked the vehicle.

Garda Codd told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that Callaghan was unfit for interview for four hours after his arrest because he had been drinking alcohol. He said Callaghan later made admissions “inter-mixed with unusual comments”.

Garda Codd said Callaghan said he was disgusted with himself and entered a very early guilty plea.

The garda said Callaghan had been arrested under the Mental Health Act previously. He agreed with Marc Murphy BL, defending, that the assault involved stroking the victim’s thigh and hooking his leg around hers.

He further agreed Callaghan had revealed he was bullied at school for being different and that as long as he was taking his medication he did not cause difficulty.

Murphy submitted to Judge Nolan that his client came from a law-abiding pro-social family and that he was on a new drug regime.

Counsel accepted when Judge Nolan put it to him that when Callaghan drank a lot, he got into trouble, but said his client was now complying with taking medication.

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Aoife Nic Ardghail

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