April 2017

Ambulance driver sentenced to 2.5 years for sexual assault of nine-year-old girl

A HSE PARAMEDIC and volunteer ambulance driver has been jailed for the repeated sexual assault of a child.

John Devereux (52) had denied ten counts of sexually assaulting the nine-year-old child on dates in 2012 and 2013.

A jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court acquitted him of seven counts but found him guilty of three offences.

The court heard that Devereux of Balbriggan, Co Dublin, was previously an ambulance driver with the Order Of Malta and had a leading role in the scouts.

He is now a registered sex offender, will lose his job on conviction and can no longer be involved in any of the voluntary bodies he was associated with. He continues to deny the offending and intends to appeal the conviction, Orla Crowe SC, defending, said.

Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, read out a victim impact statement from the child’s parents which said that the accused should never again be given access to vulnerable children.

The details of how Devereux came into contact with the victim cannot be published in order to protect her anonymity.

Her parents said their daughter has gone through hours of therapy.

They said they were concerned that as she gets older she will realise the full impact of what he has done to her.

Crowe handed in testimonials for her client which she said showed he was “a fine upstanding man who is widely well-regarded”. She said he is a man of no previous convictions. The accused was previously involved in a number of voluntary organisations, including one which involves access to children.

Judge Pauline Codd suspended the last year of a three-and-a-half year term of imprisonment on condition the man undergo community-based and in-house treatment programmes for sex offenders on release.

She noted that the man took part in the gross exploitation of the innocence of a young girl and had never expressed remorse.

“He has never apologised in respect of his actions. Such an apology would vindicate the young victim and her family,” she said.

She said that she was taking into consideration as mitigation the man’s previous good character, his voluntary work and the loss of his good character and his job.

Judge Codd said the sexual assault, which involved sexual touching and rubbing of the child, lay on the lower to middle end of the scale of sexual assault.

After sentencing, Crowe applied for restrictions in identifying her client. Judge Codd initially ordered that the accused could not be named but later lifted this order after a further application from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Judge Codd said there was a public interest in hearing the details of his name. She said the court was taken by surprise initially and sought to clarify if the parents of the child had any issues with him being identified.

Once this consent was given by the child’s parents the court lifted the order prohibiting his identification in the media, on strict conditions.