A Magilligan bar owner who sexually assaulted a teenage girl has received a two and a half year sentence.
John Gaile was ordered to spend six months of the sentence in custody with the remaining two years spent in the community on licence.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register and will be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for an indefinite period.
Gaile, of Ballymadigan Terrace, Castlerock, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault between June 2011 and August 2012.
Derry Crown Court heard the victim, a 16-year-old girl, had been to a funeral along with her mother, Gaile and other friends.
They got a mini bus back to Cooley’s Bar, Magilligan, which is owned by the 52-year-old, and the girl stayed there for a while before walking home.
The teenager woke up in the early hours of the morning to find Gaile in her room.
He sat on the bed and began touching her chest and tried to kiss her.
The girl squirmed’ away and Gaile touched her under her pyjama bottoms and gave her a ‘love bite’ on her neck.
She got out of bed and went into the living room until the 52-year-old left the house.
It was revealed Gaile had also sexually assaulted the girl on a previous occasion. She was the front seat passenger in a vehicle and the 52-year-old had touched her chest.
The court was told the injured party has been affected by the incidents, but has managed to move on with her life.
Defence counsel Arthur Harvey QC said his client accepts he should never have been involved in any contact with this young woman in any circumstances’.
He said on this night any sense of judgement left him because of the amount of alcohol consumed’.
Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said the offences were aggravated by the age difference between the injured party and Gaile. He said a further aggravating feature was that it happened in the girls bedroom ‘which is supposed to be a place of privacy’.
The judge said Gaile was a friend of the girl’s family and he had ‘taken advantage of the trust’ placed in him.
Judge Babington accepted the offences were ‘opportunistic’ and ‘largely brought on by alcohol’.
However, he said the sexual assualts were ‘serious’ 52-year-old had ‘shown a complete disregard for the injured party and the friendship built up over a number of years in a small community’.