THE sentencing of a Powys man who lifted a woman’s skirt up on a train during what was described as a “drunken prank” has been delayed because he contests part of the claim against him.

Gareth Manuel appeared at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court this week where, due to a disparity between what he and the prosecution say happened, a Newton hearing - which disputes the facts after a guilty plea - was arranged.

The 40-year-old previously admitted sexual assault on a female at Newtown Railway Station on March 4 this year, but at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, August 22, his solicitor argued that while Manuel admitted lifting the victim’s skirt, “under no circumstances did he do anything more”.


A pre-sentence report was ordered on the last occasion, but Huw Williams, representing Manuel, of The Gardens, Kerry, said this week that the report “doesn’t do justice at all to what happened”.

“Mr Manuel has no previous dealings with the court,” said Mr Williams.

“On August 1 he appeared and pleaded guilty to sexual assault. There was no basis of plea, he seems to have entered it on the fact he accepts the case against him.

“He clearly admits he uplifted the female’s skirt, which is seen on CCTV, he lifted it quite a height. It was on a busy train between Shrewsbury and Newtown when parties were socialising, spirits were high.

“That’s all he did. He did it once. The victim alleges her underwear was also touched, exposing her genitalia. If you accept that, sentencing is far more severe than simply lifting someone’s skirt.

“The court might want a Newton hearing to decide if the case should be sentenced on the crown’s case or the defendant’s.

“He’s adamant he lifted the skirt but under no circumstances did he do anything more. To compound matters the pre-sentence report says he does it twice and he penetrated her.

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“It doesn’t do justice at all to what happened.”

Prosecutor Helen Tench said she would review the matter with the prosecutor on the case.

“Her statement is signed and quite clear,” said Mrs Tench.

“The CCTV has been viewed but it will be further reviewed and we will go back to the complainant.”

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until October 2.