Jailed former RTÉ journalist Mícheál Ó Leidhin is appealing a 15-month sentence for sexual assault

A RTÉ journalist who was fired and jailed for 15 months after being found guilty of sexual assault is facing an appeal against his sentence.

ícheál Ó Leidhin, a 38-year-old Kerryman who worked as a political reporter for Raidió na Gaeltachta, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in May.

Ó Leidhin, from Sunnyside, Malahide Road, Artane, Dublin, has been serving an 18-month sentence with three months probation since August 1.

He appealed both his conviction and his sentence on July 27, but the legal diary shows only one appeal of his sentence, which is scheduled for a hearing in the Court of Appeals this week.

At a verdict hearing last July, his attorney said Ó Leidhin accepted the jury verdict.

At the Central Criminal Court, Garda Niall Freyne told Michael Delaney SC how the applicant was in a Dublin pub with a friend in May 2018 when they met Ó Leidhin, who knew her friend.

The group went to another pub and the woman and Ó Leidhin kissed. At the end of the night, Ó Leidhin asked the woman back to his south Dublin flat.

In the journalist’s apartment, they engaged in consensual sexual foreplay.

Ó Leidhin suggested they have penetrative sex but the woman said “no” but left open the possibility that they could do so the next morning, Mr Delaney SC told the court.

The woman stated that she woke up to find Ó Leidhin lying on top of her and feeling her breasts.

The court heard that she told him to get out. The woman said she was confused and upset and told Ó Leidhin it was strange that he did this while she was sleeping.

She told the court she absolutely disagreed. They went back to sleep and Ó Leidhin later took the woman home.

The court heard they spoke by phone and text message later that day, and the woman expressed dissatisfaction with what had happened.

Ó Leidhin called her home and they talked for about an hour.

Mr Delaney SC said they agreed to differ and there was no contact between them after that. The woman reported the incident to Gardaí a year later.

In a statement to Gardaí, Ó Leidhin said that when he woke up in the night, he wanted to resume the sexual activity they had previously engaged in. He said he tried to wake the woman up so she could keep “fooling around”. He said she asked him to stop and he did.

In her victim statement, she said she felt sadness and distress and felt completely disconnected from reality.

The woman said relations with her family were strained and she had lost her social circle and many friends. She said she was unable to advance in her career but became depressed and suicidal. The woman said she believes that if society had been more supportive of the victims, she would not have had to deal with such devastating losses.

The only person responsible for the lost relationships and friendships is Ó Leidhin, she said, and yet she was shamed and blamed for what he did to her.

Judge Karen O’Connor said aggravating factors in the case are the impact on the victim, who spoke compellingly about her trauma and her sense of being hurt in her sleep.

In mitigation, the court heard that Ó Leidhin was formerly of good character, a hardworking scholar who was very highly qualified and had an impressive work history.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/jailed-former-rte-journalist-micheal-o-leidhin-appeals-15-month-sentence-for-sexual-assault-42032868.html Jailed former RTÉ journalist Mícheál Ó Leidhin is appealing a 15-month sentence for sexual assault

Fry Electronics Team

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