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Singer and actor Garrett Phillips to be sentenced in July for oral rape

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Galway singer and actor Garrett Phillips will be sentenced in July for orally raping a young woman who had fallen asleep in his van while he gave her a lift home from a night out in Galway.

Phillips (46) had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court last month to one charge of orally raping the then 20-year-old woman at a Galway location in the early hours of November 5, 2015.

Reporting restrictions in the case, which prevented Phillips being named, were lifted by Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, despite attempts by him to have them kept in place.

The case has been adjourned until July to allow for the preparation of a probation report.

Phillips is well-known for impersonating Frank Sinatra in a ‘Rat Pack’ show which finished up in London’s West End and Dublin last month, and for his former role in Ros na Rún.

During the trial, the victim told the jury that she accepted the lift from Phillips after first encountering him with his dog while she sat alone and upset in a park.

She said she fell asleep on the journey and woke up to find her assailant standing up in the van opposite her with his right leg on the seat beside her and his penis in her mouth.

The woman told the jury she memorised the van’s registration plate as he sped off and then ran to the nearest house repeating this number out loud.

Phillips claimed in his Garda interview that he had driven out to a vantage point on the outskirts of the city at the woman’s suggestion.

He said their faces “kind of met” while they stopped to look at a view of the city lights and that it was a consensual encounter which had started off “very tender” and felt “chemical”.

He then claimed that his victim gave him oral sex for a few seconds before she stated: “I’ve a boyfriend”.

He claimed she put her head back, became unresponsive and then sprang upright in anger. The court heard the man has no previous convictions.

The jury of eight men and four women took four hours and 15 minutes to return their majority 11-1 verdict.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon thanked the jury members for their time and attention to the case and exempted them from further duty for seven years.

She directed Phillips be registered as a sex offender and remanded him on continuing bail until his sentence date in May. Sentencing is now adjourned until July.

The young woman told the jury that she awoke to find Phillips “thrusting” his penis into her mouth after falling asleep while he gave her a lift home.

She said she had accepted the lift after encountering him as she was sitting alone and upset in a park from various stressors in her life.

She said they had a conversation and she later got into his van, before falling asleep after seeing a hotel on the route and hearing him say something about an overview of the city lights.

The woman told Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, that she next recalled the man standing up in the van opposite her with his right leg on the seat beside her and his penis in her mouth.

“He was thrusting his penis into my mouth”, she told the jury.

She described “crying hysterically and screaming”, retrieving her phone from him and running around to the back of the van where she memorised the number plate.

She said she ran to a nearby house “and just started ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door, just kept saying the number plate.” She said the family in this house rang the Gardaí.

The woman denied when Barry White SC, defending, suggested that she had put her arm around his client while on the park bench.

She said it was “not true” that she and the man kissed passionately at the view location and that she had performed consensual oral sex on him.

She further denied repeating “I’ve a boyfriend”, becoming unresponsive in the van and then springing “bolt upright” in anger.

Another witness told the court that she and her parents opened their front door to the woman, who was crying with “makeup all down her face”.

The witness said she noticed the complainant’s zip had been fully down on her jeans, while the top button was done. She said the complainant was repeating a vehicle’s registration when she first came into the house.

A local garda described taking photos and measurements of the seized van and listed various cabin measurements, including the distance from the passenger seat’s edge to the dashboard.

He agreed with Mr White that he did not seek assistance from colleagues sitting in to see how far a person’s legs would come out from the seat.

Phillips told gardaí during a voluntary interview that the woman had indicated to him that he could drive towards a vantage point of the city during the lift to her home. He claimed to Gardaí that they had a passionate kiss here before he pulled his van about 20 metres into a nearby housing estate and they continued with “heavy petting”.

He said the woman gave him oral sex for a few seconds before she started repeating: “I’ve a boyfriend”.

He said she put her head back, “seemed suddenly out of it” and unresponsive and then sprang upright. The man claimed the woman shouted at him to get away from her, she demanded her phone and wanted him to drive her to a Garda station.

A detective told Mr Burns that the man said he drove off feeling “panicky” when the woman got out of his van. He described how he had felt like a “Good Samaritan” by approaching her as she sat alone audibly crying on a park bench.

When Gardaí asked him to explain why a woman 20 years younger would perform oral sex on him, he replied that “it was more sensual” and that it “felt chemical” between them.

Connacht Tribune

Football’s a funny old game – and you can quote me on that

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If someone actually made it a requirement of your commitment to your job that you run through a brick wall for them, surely the people from health and safety would have to intervene?

And yet this the ultimate tribute a manager pays to their star player, as a way of suggesting he or she would always go the extra yard.

Never mind that the world now measures in metres, but whatever the currency, what would be the point of going a yard or metre further than was required?

Because going the extra yard would mean you’ve gone too far, which sort of defeats the whole plan in the first place.

And yet you hear it all the time, because sports stars have a way of giving an interview which revolves around half a dozen stock answers – all of which leave you none the wiser when it’s over.

Managers learn how to expand on these stock replies to incorporate a whole new range of clichés that fill airtime but answer nothing.

More to the point, they often mean nothing too.

Because where else in life would 100 per cent commitment to the particular cause never be quite enough – given that everyone else was giving 110 per cent?

And yet that too is among those most common clichés expressed in post-match set-piece interviews; packed to the wall with observations that actually mean precisely nothing.

Those post-game interviews were in the news for more serious reasons in recent weeks, after one of the biggest stars of the world of tennis, Naomi Osaka, declined to do them during the French Open because she said that negative questions on her performance were impacting on her mental health.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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Connacht Tribune

Sporting organisations letting us down by rolling over to NPHET

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Galway players Niamh McGrath and Siobhan Gardiner show their disappointment after falling to Kilkenny in Sunday's National Camogie League final at Croke Park. Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IRELAND’S various big sporting organisations continue to embarrass themselves in relation to how they are handling the Covid pandemic. Being slaves to public health guidelines is one thing, but these bodies have introduced some rules of their own which are only further alienating their support base.

The GAA, IRFU, the FAI and Horse Racing Ireland may be currently dependent on public finances to keep their respective shows on the road, but that can’t excuse their lack of independent thinking or the fact they are making a deeply frustrating situation worse by adding in their own Covid-19 regulations

In effect, these sporting bodies are trying too hard to please NPHET and it doesn’t seem to matter how much they inconvenience or antagonise their grassroots in the process. Take the GAA, for instance. At club level dressing rooms remain closed and that causes significant irritation, especially on wet days.

Horse Racing Ireland is no better. Two owners per runner have been allowed back at race meetings and while that number is about to increase to four, there has been little enthusiasm among the cohort of people who pay the bills to return. And why would they? – no catering, no bookies and no atmosphere. And the most absurd thing of all is that the racing authorities are still enforcing the mask-wearing regulation.

Imagine still having to use a face covering in what amounts to big open fields. Is Horse Racing Ireland clueless as to how foolish jockeys, trainers, the few owners and media people present are being made to look, especially when the risk of contracting Covid is negligible in such an environment? All the while, beaches, public parks and walkways are milling with people.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

The thrill of learning

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Embracing education: Anna Keane who will begin a BA in September; Anne Marie Ward who is doing a part-time degree in Youth, Community and Family Studies; Owen Ward who has a Master’s in Education and works at NUIG; and Jason Sherlock who will embark on a Master’s in International Finance in September. All entered NUIG via its Access Programme.

Lifestyle – Most members of the Travelling community are unlikely to finish secondary education and only a tiny proportion go to university. But for people who want an academic education, NUIG is leading the way. Four keen learners share their stories with JUDY MURPHY, among them post-graduate Owen Ward who works in NUIG’s Access Office, assisting people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Starting third-level education can be daunting for even the most confident teenager. Entering a massive campus, meeting so many new people, trying to figure out timetables, deciding what societies to join and just finding your feet – those early weeks can be a challenge.

That’s how Jason Sherlock felt when the young city man began his degree at NUIG in 2018. A member of the Travelling community, Jason had more reason than most to feel daunted in this educational establishment. According to the 2016 Census, only one percent of Travellers go on to third level – although that has increased slightly since then, thanks to people like Jason and his mentor, Owen Ward, a Programme Coordinator in the university’s Access Office.

Jason, who entered university though the Access Programme, which supports students from ‘non-traditional backgrounds’, will begin studying for a Master’s in International Finance in September, having completed a degree in Economics, Sociology and Political Science.

As we meet on the campus at NUIG on a sunny Friday, he recalls having his photo taken by the Tribune 11 years ago, on his final day at Scoil Bhríde National School in Shantalla, where he had never missed a day.

But university was different. Initially, Jason felt it wasn’t for him and almost dropped out of his course. That’s where Owen Ward appeared. Owen who graduated from NUIG in 2014, having also entered via the Access Programme, was back doing a Master’s in Education.  He heard Jason was on campus and went looking for him among the 18,000 students.

“I didn’t know Jason at the time but I knew his father. And I tracked him down,” he recalls with a laugh. Having done that, he was able to support the younger man in those difficult early days. Jason found his feet and with Owen went on to set up Mincéirs Whiden, a new society at NUIG. The first of its kind in any third-level institution, Mincéirs Whiden is for Traveller students but is open to all. Members include students from the settled community, Irish and international.

Anne Marie Ward, who is beginning her third year of a part-time degree in Youth, Community and Family Studies, is the incoming chair of Mincéirs Whiden.

She’s also the new Ethnic Minorities Officer for the NUIG Students’ Union, the first member of the Travelling Community to be elected to a position in the student body.  She is Owen’s sister.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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