Poolside indecency allegations dismissed

A Mullingar man has successfully appealed a conviction for two counts of indecency at Mullingar Swimming Pool.

John Gaynor, Rathconrath, Mullingar was found guilty by Judge Seamus Hughes of two counts of indecency on dates in April 2010, where it was alleged he had revealed his buttocks and part of his genitals as he was seen washing himself vigorously in the poolside showers.

Mullingar Circuit Court dismissed a charge relating to April 13, saying the prosecution hadn’t been brought in time and was not properly before the court.

Regarding April 20, the judge said he had reasonable doubt about the date of the alleged offence, as Mr Gaynor said he had been asked to stop coming to the pool several weeks earlier.

He said the statement of a witness who was not in court indicated that a complaint had been received on March 23, and he was barred the following day.

Mr Gaynor said he had been asked to stop attending the pool on April 7, almost two weeks before the alleged offence.

Mr Peter Jones said gardaí confirmed they were called on April 20 after the pool manager alleged she had witnessed an indecent incident as she led an aqua aerobics class that night.

Shane Geraghty BL said his client, who has no previous convictions, had no predilection for this type of behaviour and was very adamant it hadn’t happened.

He said the dates issue was “very, very central” to the prosecution case, and Mr Gaynor had shown evidence that his swimming classes were on Mondays and Wednesdays, not the Tuesday the offence was alleged to have occurred on.

Mr Gaynor said he had never been accused of indecent behaviour, but when the pool manager approached him on April 7, “she told me my shorts were too short and she deemed them indecent and said it would be better if I didn’t return”.

He said he was shocked and outraged by her request, and while he admitted his shorts were short, he said “my areas were covered at all times”.

Allegations made by some of the four prosecution witnesses that part of his erect penis had been on display “could be their imagination”, he said.

The prosecution case involved four women giving detailed evidence of behaviour they alleged they had seen in the public showers at the side of the pool on a number of nights, including April 7 and 20.

Judge Donagh McDonagh said it seemed to him that “something was going on in this pool and it is very difficult not to accept the evidence of the four witnesses”.

But he said there were “disquieting elements” surrounding the dates of the alleged offences and he had to give Mr Gaynor the benefit of the doubt.

He concluded by advising Mr Gaynor that if he is ever at the pool again to be “extremely cautious” and conscious of the need to protect children and young girls from seeing “anything inappropriate”.

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