Quadriplegic ambulance worker is cleared of sexual assault

Ambulance technician Dale Kirby, 34,
Ambulance technician Dale Kirby, 34,

A man has been cleared of sexually touching a drunk girl while he was an ambulance worker for the Brighouse station.

Dale Kirby, 35, who is now quadriplegic, appeared over a video link from his bed at home for his trial at Leeds Crown Court where he was unanimously found not guilty by a jury on two charges of assault by digital penetration.

The jury was told at the start of the trial last week by Judge Christopher Batty that Kirby, then an emergency medical technician, had sustained substantial physical injuries since the proceedings against him began.

They were not told he suffered the injuries in June last year when he jumped off a bridge at Mann Dam, Cleckheaton, while a previous jury was considering verdicts on the charges against him.

That first jury at the earlier trial failed to reach verdicts on the two charges without knowing why he was absent. Reporting restrictions prevented details being revealed.

Retrial jurors were told Kirby could not attend court and that there would be breaks when he was receiving medication or was drowsy because of his condition. Kirby’s evidence in his defence was also filmed in advance at his home to be played to the jury in court.

After the verdicts the judge thanked them for their patience and said “it is important that justice has come to a conclusion and seen to be done”. The jury heard the complainant, who was 18 and drunk, was being taken to hospital in the early hours of November 30, 2014 with a friend.

She claimed Kirby twice put his hand up her dress while she was lying on a stretcher and intentionally touched her intimately with his fingers.

Kirby, then living in Huddersfield, told Leeds Crown Court he accidentally touched her once when he tried to protect her modesty and was thrown off balance by the movement of the ambulance.