Ex RTE journalist who sexually assaulted woman while she was sleeping jailed

Published date26 July 2022
Publication titleDublinLive (Ireland)
Micheal O Leidhin (38) of Sunnyside, Malahide Road, Artane was convicted last April of sexual assault at his former home in south Dublin in the early hours of the morning of May 13, 2018

O Leidhin, a native of Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry, had denied the offence but his lawyers told a sentence hearing earlier this month at the Central Criminal Court that he now accepts the verdict of the jury.

Sentencing him on Tuesday, Ms Justice Karen O'Connor agreed with a defence application to stay the sentence until next Monday, August 1, when O Leidhin is to present himself at Mountjoy Prison.

The judge said that O Leidhin "has accepted the verdict but not the import of the verdict and this is relevant when asked to consider remorse". She said the complainant had given "compelling" evidence of the ongoing trauma she suffered in the wake of the assault.

She handed down a sentence of 18 months and suspended the final three months on a number of conditions. A female supporter of O Leidhin broke down in tears after the sentence was handed down.

At a previous sentence hearing, Garda Niall Freyne told Michael Delaney SC, prosecuting, that the complainant, who is legally entitled to anonymity, was out drinking in a Dublin pub with a female friend when they met the defendant who knew her friend.

The group went on to another pub and the woman and O Leidhin were kissing. At the end of the night, O Leidhin asked the woman to go back to his flat in south Dublin and they got a taxi there.

In the flat they were kissing and O Leidhin engaged in consensual sexual foreplay type activity. O Leidhin suggested they have penetrative sex. The woman said no but left open the possibility that they could do this the next morning, Mr Delaney told the court.

In his account to gardai, O Leidhin said that he was unable to get an erection.

The woman then fell asleep and woke later to find O Leidhin on top her of her and groping her breasts. She said she told him to stop and get off her. He did stop and told her: "Sorry, I'm horny".

The court heard that she was annoyed and told the defendant that she was clearly asleep.

The woman said she went back to sleep. Later that night O Leidhin drove her home and over the following days she texted him expressing annoyance at what had happened.

He met up with her and they spoke for an hour and "they agreed to differ" about what had happened, Gda Freyne said. Nearly a year later in April 2019, the woman went to gardai and made a complaint of sexual assault.


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