Judge rejects diner's claim sexual assault was just an accident
A judge has rejected claims that a sexual assault on a woman was an "accidental brushing" of her breast and that her complaint was an act of vengeance.
Alan Hamilton (58) from Drumcoo Green, Dungannon, denied sexually assaulting the woman last October 30.
The town's Magistrates' Court heard the victim was a waitress in a restaurant that Hamilton entered carrying a bottle of wine.
While taking his order, Hamilton asked if she or any of her friends would go out with him.
She replied no to both and proceeded to bring the food.
The woman noticed Hamilton put a £50 note on the table, which she though was unusual because he always asked for his bill and paid on leaving.
Later, Hamilton waved to her, which she assumed meant he wanted the bill.
She said: "As I approached, he was getting up from the table. I set the bill down and at the same time, he grabbed my bottom and my right breast. He said something like 'a bit of t**'.
"I went to the kitchen and tried to tell my boss what happened, but I was crying and he didn't understand me. Then I said, 'Please tell him to leave me alone'."
The court heard the owner dashed from the kitchen but Hamilton had left. The £50 note was still on the table.
The victim said: "I felt abused and disgusted. It was horrible. You don't go to work and expect to be touched by a customer."
She accepted Hamilton spoke to her once before while dining, asking if she wanted to go for a glass of wine after work, which she declined.
When interviewed by police Hamilton replied "no comment" to all questions. Giving evidence, he claimed the woman made up the claims in revenge for him asking her out previously.
Hamilton said: "I was standing to go and my right arm was toward her left breast. I brushed against it when turning around. It was purely accidental."
On leaving the £50 note, when the meal totalled £33, Hamilton claimed the extra £17 was a tip, adding: "Anyone will tell you, I give generous tips."
Judge Meehan rejected the defendant's claims, saying: "I found the victim's evidence compelling. This was a sexualised physical approach. There is no innocent explanation."
Hamilton will be sentenced next month.