A man has been ordered to carry out unpaid work and put under curfew after admitting sexually assaulting a woman at a bar in Chester.
Michael Alexander Smith, 29, of Holland Street in Crewe, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to sexual assault and appeared at Chester Crown Court for sentencing.
Prosecutor Mandy Nepal said that the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been out at The Alchemist bar in Chester on September 30 this year and was stood at the bar ordering drinks, when she felt a hand go up her skirt from behind her and touch her intimately.
She turned around quickly, but could not see anyone and so she turned back to the bar but said she had felt violated and shocked.
The court heard that the victim turned back to speak to the barman, but within a few seconds the same thing happened again, but the victim reported that on the second occasion it was “more forceful”.
The victim turned around and saw Smith standing right behind her. She confronted him, and Ms Nepal said that Smith and his friend had become aggressive towards her until another customer had stepped in.
The victim reported the incident to the security staff at the venue and the matter was reported to the police, who arrested Smith.
In interview, Smith said he had been drinking all day and was so intoxicated at the time, he could not recall the events, but accepted that he was the man in CCTV footage of the incident.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the woman in question said: “Not once in my life have I felt so overwhelmed, humiliated, intimidated, but also violated.”
She added in her statement that Smith had smiled slightly while he did it, and said that the assault had had a significant effect on her, adding it was “revolting” and saying she will be left dealing with the events of that night for a long time.
Defending Smith, Dafydd Roberts said his client had no previous convictions and that he had entered a prompt guilty plea, showed genuine remorse and cooperated fully with the police.
Mr Roberts said: “Nothing that I say on his behalf is intended to minimise or trivialise what happened that night. It is behaviour that should never ever have happened and it had a profound impact on this young lady.
“It’s serious and he understands that, because he is a family man - he would hate it if something like that happened to his own daughters.”
Judge Nicholas Woodward issued Smith with a high level community order, issuing him with a 12 month curfew for over the Christmas period and every Saturday evening for a year, as well as ordering him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, pay £465 prosecution costs and sign the sex offenders register for five years.
Judge Woodward added: “She (the victim) had gone to The Alchemist looking, no doubt, to have an enjoyable social occasion. While she was in that bar, you put your hand up her skirt. It was a brief and clearly distressing incident for her.
“You clearly seemed to find what you were doing amusing. It’s important for this court to recognise the impact that your actions had on the victim.
“She has felt humiliated and degraded by what you did. It has affected her psychologically, and she is quite right to view this as absolutely disgraceful behaviour on your part.”