February 3, 2014

A Donegal-based Garda who sexually assaulted a fellow female officer and harassed another at a local Garda station has been given a six month jail sentence and fined a total of €10,000.

Letterkenny District Court.

Letterkenny District Court.

Married father-of-three Kevin Corby showed no emotion as sentence was passed at Letterkenny Circuit Court today.

Corby then had his jail term substituted for 240 hours community service.

Corby, who is in his mid-30s and originally from Co Leitrim, had been found guilty of the offences by a jury back in October and the case had been adjourned for sentence.

The offences took place while Corby and the two female victims were working as part of a team in a North Donegal Garda station in 2010 and 2011.

Passing sentence Judge John O’Hagan said the public needed to have the trust of those people who wore a uniform – be it green or blue.

He said Corby, with an address at Stranorlar, Co Donegal, must have realised the impact his harassment was having on his two female colleagues describing his actions as “persistent and consistent.”

He said the job of a Garda was a stressful enough one without having to have the added pressure of harassment or sexual assault.

But he said the probation report into Corby was positive and to ask the court for the “pound of flesh would be a bit extreme.”

He fined Corby €5,000 on each of the harassment charges and sentenced him to six months in jail but substituted that with 240 hours community service.

Both of Corby’s victims sat on the opposite side of the courtroom from him.

Their victim impact statements were not read out in court but Judge John O’Hagan did read one line from the statements.

It read the were “tormented and sickened by the remarks and sexual innuendo.”

The court heard how Corby was now suspended on three quarters of his pay.

Superintendent Jimmy Coen, who oversaw the investigation, said there will now be a separate internal enquiry carried out by the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Various references were read out to the court by defence barrister Peter Nolan on behalf of Corby including letters from a priest, the chairman of a GAA club and an ex-Garda.

Mr Nolan said his client had become something of a pariah and his original circle of friends had dwindled.

He was also asked to stand down from his local GAA club.

However he said his client was still of the opinion that the whole affair centred around horseplay.

The court previously heard how the married officer insulted the women about their sex-life and their weight.

The women said they dreaded going to work because of the alleged harassment and one of them even tried to take her own life.

He jibed them about needing to “get a good ride” and not eating too much or they wouldn’t get a man.

The court also heard how Corby, on two different occasions, pushed them along a corridor in a swivel chair and pushed his groin up against them.

He was said to have pushed himself up against one of the women from behind and she could feel his erect penis pressing against her.

One of the women also claimed that he put his hand into her garda vest on one occasion and touched her breast.

On another occasion, while in a patrol car, Corby put his hand on one of the female Garda’s leg and then moved it up towards her groin area and told her if her husband didn’t do it then he would.

However, the court also heard from three different male gardaí who also worked with Corby in the same station.

One of the gardaí said he had never heard such remarks in his numerous years as a serving member.

Another said he told Corby to give it a break after he “crossed the line” with the female colleagues.

Barrister for Corby, Peter Nolan said previously that the case was a “storm in a teacup” and “political correctness gone mad”.

He also referred to the fact that one of the female gardaí had bought Corby red Santa boxer shorts as a present for Christmas – just weeks after some of the alleged incidents.

“If you are going to join the guards then you have to be able for a bit of banter. This is a ridiculous case for prosecution to bring before the people of Ireland.

“If we were all to be done for putting our hands on someone’s knee then we would all be in jail,” he had said.

But State barrister Patricia McLaughlin had asked the jury that if it was their wife, daughter or sister, would they not think it was indecent.

The jury unanimously found Corby guilty of one charge of sexual assault and two charges of harassment leading to yesterday’s sentencing.

Corby’s wife hugged him as Judge O’Hagan passed sentence but the accused showed no emotion.

On the opposite side of the courtroom, one of Corby’s victims broke down in tears.