Lisburn solicitor Chris Logue guilty of groping colleague
A solicitor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a female colleague.
Christopher Logue, 33, of Lady Wallace Crescent, Lisburn, County Antrim, was found to have groped the woman at a solicitors' function in a hotel in Newcastle, County Down.
He had argued he was being "an eejit, and this was a bit of banter".
However, the judge told him: "I'm entirely satisfied that this was a sexual assault."
The incident happened in November 2013 at the annual County Down solicitors' dinner, attended by two judges as well as lawyers.
The woman told Downpatrick Magistrates Court she had been pestered, manhandled and groped for 10 to 15 minutes while sat at the same table as Logue.
She said she repeatedly told him to "please respect my personal space" and pushed him away.
Logue told the court on Tuesday he had been in "boisterous form", having drunk a few pints of beer and reciting poetry to those at the table, but sexual assault was "absolutely not" his intention.
"I would describe it as being an eejit, being a nuisance," he said.
"When I'm in that sort of form, I think everyone is on the same wavelength and will find it funny - it's all about laughing and having a bit of craic."
He said that while he was not proud of his "eejit behaviour", he was "absolutely floored" when he first heard he was being investigated for sexual assault.
He said he could not specifically remember the incident but such behaviour would be completely out of character.
However, the judge said Logue "could be under no illusion that what he was doing was highly inappropriate".
"It is quite clear that he did approach her in an inappropriate way, he did make contact with her chest area and the evidence was that it was persistent and escalated over a period of time," he said.
The judge said his victim had made it "quite clear that she wished him to stop, both verbally and physically".
He said while he recognised the consequences of a conviction would have "greater ramifications than any sentence this court may impose", he could not allow himself to be "swayed by sentiments of sympathy".
Adjourning sentencing until 20 January, he said he accepted the sexual assault was at the "lowest end of the scale" but it was still a serious matter.