A Longford man has been found not guilty of assault and falsely imprisoning a young woman at a basement in Waterford city.
Vytautas Siaulys, 44, with an address provided at Thomas Street, Waterford, but who is now living in Longford, told the court he was misidentified and forced to work for a Lithuanian crime gang selling drugs at a house on Henrietta Street, on the edge of Waterford’s medieval tourism spot, the Viking Triangle.
The defence had contended that gardaí and the complainant Tammy Dowdall, 22, from Cappoquin, had misidentified the defendant and that the house was actually kept by a man named Viktor at the time the alleged crimes took place on June 23-24, 2019.
She alleged she was threatened with having her breasts and fingers cut off and was not allowed to leave the house after going there to buy weed. Ms Dowdall, who was 19-years-old at the time of the incident, insisted that Vytautas Siaulys was also known in Waterford as Viktor.
Her account was supported by two gardaí but a jury returned a verdict of not guilty on both counts after deliberating last Friday at Waterford’s Circuit Criminal Court.
Niall Flynn, in defence, argued there had been shortcomings in the State's evidence.
He said the jury had not been privy to a series of key evidence, including half a dozen eye witnesses and medical records for Ms Dowdall.
The defence maintained that Mr Siaulys, who required an interpreter, came to Ireland weeks prior to the incident, with very little English and had been living in a tent beside the Tower Hotel up the road from Henrietta Street.
In a Garda interview he said he came to Dublin from Lithuania on promise of work but found his passport taken by his fellow countrymen.
He was then brought to Waterford and “forced to sell drugs”, he said.
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