Kilkenny Court House where the circuit court sitting was held
A man has been jailed for two years for the sexual assault of a 19-year-old girl in Kilkenny.
The young woman thought the three and a half hour ordeal “was the end” for her and in her victim impact statement said her life will never be the same.
On Sunday, July 29, 2017, the young woman was socialising in a Kilkenny city night club with friends. She became separated from them and at 3am went outside intending to get a taxi.
As she tried to hail a taxi, a car pulled up and stopped. She assumed it was a taxi and got in, giving the driver, Dariusz Swiderski, 25 Dolmen Mews, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, the address she wanted to go to.
The young woman fell asleep in the car. It drove around for a short time before parking in a secluded area of a housing estate on the outskirts of Kilkenny. She was sexually assaulted over three and a half hours.
When arrested Mr Swiderski admitted kissing the teenager’s legs and breasts. He also admitted touching her breasts and vagina. She awoke to being digitally penetrated by the defendant. Her top was pulled up and her trousers were around her knees.
She was in shock and stayed in the car for a short time before she fled and hid behind a tree. She made her way through the estate and out onto the city ring road where a passer-by stopped and called the gardaí.
Garda James McGuill attended the scene and accompanied the young woman to the sexual assault unit at Waterford University Hospital.
Garda McGuill used CCTV to identify the car that the young lady got into and the licence plate to identify the driver. He went to Mr Swiderski’s home but he was not there. On July 31, with other gardai, he arrested Mr Swiderski’s at his workplace.
Mr Swiderski was interviewed four times. He admitted picking up the injured party, touching and kissing her. He said she never said to him she didn’t want it. He believed it was consensual. The garda said the young lady was quite clear she did not want any contact with the defendant.
Mr Swiderski entered a guilty plea during the investigation but later made an application in court to vacate that plea. The application was denied.
The young lady prepared a victim impact statement which she asked Garda McGuill to read in court.
She said that she had just finished her second year in college and started a summer job when this assault happened. She had been bubbly, outgoing and happy, overall life was good.
On the night of the incident she remembered getting into a taxi but after a few minutes being scared and texting her boyfriend to say this. “It was the most frightening thing that ever happened to me.”
She said when she woke up, she felt trapped. “I thought this was the end for me.” She told Mr Swiderski that she needed to pee and got out of the car and ran.
At the hospital she said she felt “disgusted and used.”
Following the assault she was afraid he had her name and would try to find her.
She said she found it tough getting back to a normal life. Her relationship with her boyfriend broke down, she became depressed and college “became a dark place for me.” She said she didn’t trust anyone anymore, not even her family. “My quality of life has never been the same.”
The young woman said there are days when she doesn’t see a future and is haunted by not knowing what happened while she was asleep. “I feel like damaged goods.”
The court heard that Mr Swiderski offered a letter of apology and €9,000 in compensation to the young woman. She did not accept either, the court heard.
The barrister defending Mr Swiderski said his client had not been parading around as a taxi he just stopped when he saw the lady’s arm out to flag a taxi. He did not attempt to stop her getting out of the car.
Judge Patrick Meghen asked the young woman if she would consent to the €9,000 being given to charity and she asked for some time to think of an appropriate charity.
Defending Mr Swiderski, his barrister said he is 46 and a devout family man who supports his family in Poland. He helped his sister and her husband buy a home for their family. He has engaged with the Probation Service and is remorseful. He regrets the distress and anxiety caused.
A Probation Report said Mr Swiderski is at low risk of reoffending. A psychological report said he is a vulnerable individual. He suffers with anxiety and depression and has some psychological difficulties. In Poland he was rejected from the army by an Army Medical Commission report that said he had a personality disorder.
Judge Meghen said there were aggravating factors in the case - the deception of allowing the injured party think she was getting into a taxi; that she was in the car for three and a half hours; that the defendant is still in denial about the circumstances of the assault.
Mitigating circumstances were that Mr Swiderski made admissions to gardaí, he offered an apology and had no previous conviction, there was no violence or attempt to stop the lady leave the car.
Mr Swiderski was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment with 18 months suspended on condition he enter a bond to keep the peace. He was also sentenced to three years post-release supervision and he will be entered on the sex offenders register for five years.