A 39-year-old man has been sentenced to two years in prison with the final year suspended, for sexually assaulting a woman in Dingle in 2019.
Barry Gilfillan, of The Grove, Main Street, Dingle, was last month found guilty of one count of sexual assault at the same address in November 2019.
Mr Gilfillan sexually assaulted the 27-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, as she slept in his apartment.
The woman had been out in Dingle with friends, including a mutual friend of Barry Gilfillan, but she and Mr Gilfillan never met on the night.
The mutual friend invited the woman and another friend to stay at Mr Gilfillan's apartment, and the three of them went to sleep in Mr Gilfillan's double bed.
Later Mr Gilfillan returned to his apartment, and got into his bed, where he sexually assaulted the woman while she slept.
Mr Gilfillan told gardaí he thought, in his dazed state as he awoke, that she was his ex-girlfriend, and he stopped immediately when he realised what he was doing.
At Tralee Circuit Court, Judge Sinead Behan said the main issue in this case was mistaken identity, and Mr Gilfillan had acknowledged he engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with the woman.
A victim impact statement previously read into court said the woman had been mentally tortured after the assault, and couldn’t work or sleep.
Judge Behan said Mr Gilfillan was of good character, runs his own business as a physiotherapist and character references show him to be honest and hard-working.
Mr Gilfillan also presented a letter to the court for yesterday’s hearing, which Judge Behan said was impressive, and showed insight and understanding of his offence.
Judge Behan said his remorse is genuine and he accepts the verdict, and acknowledged the far-reaching implications a conviction will have for his career.
Mr Gilfillan was sentenced to two years in prison, with the final year suspended for two years post-release.
The sentence will be backdated to when he entered custody last month, and Mr Gilfillan will be placed on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.