A chef who was invited to a house party in Ballymoney was later caught putting his hand up the skirt of his female victim.
The defendant was initially charged with two counts of sexual assault; however, one was withdrawn by the court.
Oliver Pattinson (25) of Thomas Street Ballymena appeared before Coleraine Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Ballymena, in the dock where his Defence Barrister Mr Neil Moore pleaded guilty to the remaining charge.
The court heard that the victim had attended a friend’s house party, where there were six others and the defendant. At approximately 3.30 am, the defendant was observed by another person putting his hand up the victim’s skirt whilst she was sleeping.
Despite having no recollection of the incident due to being drunk, the victim, on learning what had happened, was upset but uninjured. The defendant – who was a friend of the victim – was also asked to leave the premises by others in attendance.
The Defence Barrister in the case told the court that his client had been involved in a chat group the following day where he admitted what had happened, expressing regret and remorse.
The court further heard that there had been ‘flirtatious moments’ between the defendant and the victim during the course of the previous evening. The court was also told there was no evidence or allegation before the court that this went any further than ‘a hand on her thigh’.
The court was told the defendant is a qualified chef and had been chefing at a coffee shop business, hoping to return to work there or at another establishment. Defense Barrister Mr Moore said “that being placed on the sexual offenders register can be a ‘blight’ on a person’s life” and that this incident was already affected this client’s life and reputation.
District Judge Peter King told the defendant: “context is everything” going on to state “and the context, in this case, is you had your hand up a sleeping girl’s skirt.
“I can’t imagine a more vulnerable situation your victim found herself in.”
The Judge ordered a pre-sentence report in the case before any sentencing he would be making, concluding: “council persuading me about the merits or otherwise of imposing a sentence that wouldn’t place you on the sexual offenders’ register, the fact is sir you are a sexual offender.”
The case was adjournedfor a pre-sentence report until August 27, 2021.