Alleged injured party in contested Paddy McCourt sex assault case gives evidence

Former Derry City and Celtic footballer Patrick McCourt appeared on Wednesday at Derry Magistrates’ Court where he is contesting a sexual assault charge.
Paddy McCourt is contesting the charge.Paddy McCourt is contesting the charge.
Paddy McCourt is contesting the charge.

McCourt (39), of Wheatfield Court, Muff, is charged with one count of sexual assault that was said to have occurred on January 30, 2022.

At the beginning of the contest, CCTV was shown of the alleged incident that was said to have taken place in Bar 57 in Waterloo Street.

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The alleged victim, a young woman, told the court she had been out drinking with friends on the night in question.

Accepting that she had had a few drinks, the alleged victim said: 'I was a bit tipsy'.

The woman said her boyfriend worked at the bar, as did a friend.

She told the court she had gone to the bar and, while there, someone stuck their hand under her skirt at the back, touching her under her underwear.

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She said she was in shock after the incident and 'froze'. She added: 'I didn't give anyone permission to do that.'

Eoghan Devlin, counsel for McCourt, said at the outset of his cross-examination that no one was disputing the woman had been touched inappropriately and no one was suggesting she was lying.

Mr. Devlin asked her why she had changed her statement saying the incident occurred at 1.30am to saying that it happened at 12.50am.

The woman said that, after checking her messages on her phone, she realised it could not have happened at 1.30am.

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The woman also said another man present told her he didn't agree with what had happened.

Mr. Devlin suggested to the woman that this man had been standing behind her and she agreed.

The barrister also suggested that, in her messages to friends, she said someone had stuck their 'hands' up her skirt.

The woman said that, at that time, she was upset and distressed and used the phrase ‘hands’ wrongly.

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In her messages, the woman also said the bouncers had 'dragged' the defendant out after being there in two seconds, the court heard. Mr. Devlin put it to her that the CCTV showed it was one minute and 20 seconds before the bouncers appeared.

The woman said it 'all happened so fast' and she could have been mistaken about the time.

The next witness was Beth Carroll who worked in the bar. She gave evidence of seeing the defendant 'reach down putting his hand to the top of her leg'.

She told the court she knew of McCourt but didn't know him personally.

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The witness said she had seen the CCTV on the night in question.

Under cross-examination by Mr. Devlin, the witness said that in her first statement she had talked about a man ‘walking behind' the alleged victim before putting his hand up her skirt and she accepted that this was wrong.

She agreed McCourt had not been walking behind the woman but standing beside her.

The barrister put it to the witness that there had been another man standing behind the alleged injured party, not McCourt, and she agreed.

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It was suggested to Ms. Carroll that there were things in her first statement she knew were wrong 'in a number of important ways' yet she didn't contact the police and she agreed.

The trial continues.