‘Lonely’ Swedish tourist convicted of indecent offence in Co Clare

Stefan Persson was fined €100 for indecently exposing himself and engaging in masturbation
‘Lonely’ Swedish tourist convicted of indecent offence in Co Clare

Gordon Deegan

A judge today convicted a ‘lonely’ Swedish tourist of indecently exposing himself and engaging in masturbation in front of a 60-year-old woman in a public place in the Burren coastal village of Ballyvaughan, Co Clare last month.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Mary Larkin stated that Stefan Persson (29), of Avenida Ifante Dom Henrique, Lisbon, was involved in two similar events on the afternoon of Saturday, November 20th, near Newtown Castle in Ballyvaughan.

Judge Larkin stated that if this event happened only once, she might agree with the argument put forward by the defence that it was “a moment of madness”.

Judge Larkin stated: “This was a second event, and I am not inclined to dismiss it.”

Judge Larkin convicted and fined Mr Persson €100 for indecently exposing himself and engaging in masturbation in public contrary to Section 45 of the Criminal (Sexual Offences) Act in front of a 60-year-old woman in the vicinity of Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan at around 3pm on the day.

Mr Persson pleaded guilty to two offences – the second offence concerned Mr Persson exposing his genitals intending to cause fear, distress or alarm to another person contrary to Section 45 of the Criminal (Sexual Offences) act at the same place and this followed a complaint made by a 77-year-old local woman.

Judge Larkin took the second offence into consideration.

'Moment of madness'

In court last Friday, Judge Larkin warned Mr Persson that if was still in the country for Wednesday’s district court, she would jail him.

Solicitor for Mr Persson, John Casey, told Judge Larkin that Mr Persson has left the country – the tourist operator’s return ticket for Lisbon was for last Monday, November 29th.

Judge Larkin told the court last Friday that she had a week in prison in mind for Mr Persson after Sgt Louis Moloney described the incidents as “most unsavoury”.

The court was told in one of the incidents at 3.30pm on November 20th that as the 60-year-old woman walked past Mr Persson’s camper van, he opened the door and the woman could see that he was exposed and masturbated in front of her.

In the second incident at 4pm on the same date, a 77-year-old woman was walking past the camper van and as she did so, Mr Persson opened the door of the vehicle, and she could see that he was exposed.

Solicitor for Mr Persson, Laura Stephenson told the court last Friday that Mr Persson is a Swedish national residing in Portugal and wished to enter a plea of guilty.

She stated that Mr Persson “is most regretful and very ashamed“ of what occurred.

She said: “It was a moment of madness that he deeply regrets. He doesn’t have a record of any kind in Sweden or Portugal.”

Ms Stephenson stated that while it is not an excuse, Mr Persson was in a relationship that broke up recently “and he was quite lonely and bothered”.

She stated that Ms Persson used to run a tourism business and that ended because of Covid-19.

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