Exec, 35, at City firm kept his job after groping young colleague

Executive, 35, at City tech firm kept his job after groping young female colleague’s bottom during drunken team bonding session at ‘Swingers’ crazy golf venue

  • Executive Michael Swain, 35, sexually assaulted his colleague after golf event
  • But Swain – described as ‘high flier’ was allowed to keep his job after saying sorry

A multi-million pound City tech firm executive groped a female colleague after a drunken team bonding session at a golf venue – but was still allowed to keep his job.

Business development exec Michael Swain, 35, had been drinking heavily with his co-workers at a free bar at the ‘Swingers’ premises in Central London.

He and staff from the firm – which cannot be named for legal reasons – continued drinking at a nearby pub where he launched his attack.

Swain came behind the woman, who was in her early 20s, put his hand between her legs and groped her bottom, Inner London Crown Court heard yesterday.

But despite being witnessed by colleagues and reported by the victim to HR, he was allowed to keep his job after saying sorry at a disciplinary. The case heard he was considered a ‘high flier’ who ‘brought huge amounts of money into the company.’

Executive Michael Swain, 35, sexually assaulted his colleague after a London crazy golf event

Swain – described as ‘high flier’ who brought in money to the firm – was allowed to keep his job

Meanwhile Swain, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, fought the court case for four years.

But on Tuesday – after two hours of damning evidence – he changed his plea to guilty of one count of sexual assault at the City pub.

Prosecutor Fer Chinner said his victim, who also cannot be identified, saw Swain had touched her.

The lawyer added: ‘She felt somebody grab her bottom, coming from underneath and his hand was between her legs.

‘She was in shock and said ‘He’s just grabbed my bum’. She was angry and was seen crying and went to the Ladies to calm down.’

When she reported Swain to her bosses the following Monday he remained with the company after apologising during disciplinary proceedings.

Ms Chinner added: ‘Swain was known in the company to be a top performer, bringing in big revenues.

‘They had quarterly team building days and after an 11am presentation they had lunch and then went to play crazy golf at Swingers.

‘There was a free bar there, funded by the company, and by all accounts people were taking advantage and drinking quite a lot of alcohol.’

The company even had a beer tap in their office and enjoyed celebratory ‘Friday Shouts’ drinking sessions, congratulating staff for achievements during the week.

Swain later told police he had attended a charity function the previous evening to the assault, followed by a trip to the casino, where he won £6,000, bought everybody drinks and had only two hours sleep that night. 

Swain had been drinking heavily with co-workers at a free bar at Swingers’ in Central London

Swain came behind the woman, who was in her early 20s, put his hand between her legs and groped her bottom, Inner London Crown Court (pictured) heard yesterday

‘They were drunk, all of them. They had all been drinking,’ explained Ms Chinner.

‘This defendant asked the other woman: “Can I touch her inappropriately?” referring to the complainant and then told her: “She says I can’t touch you inappropriately”.

‘The complainant put this down to being drunk and carried on and felt nothing of it.

‘He then told her: “I’m going to take some cocaine” and offered her some, but she declined.’

At around 5.30pm a group of 15 went to the ‘Slug & Lettuce’ and continued drinking.

Ms Chinner said: ‘Swain was noted to be more drunk than the others and a colleague saw him grab another woman’s bottom and when she moved away he apologised and backed-off.’

Half an hour later the complainant was chatting to colleague Thomas Brook, when she felt Swain grope her from behind, the court heard.

‘He got more intoxicated as the day went on,’ Mr Brook told the trial. ‘I could see him stepping backwards and his hand coming away from her bottom.

‘Initially there was a shock factor to it.’

The trial heard Swain was known as a ‘high flier’ who ‘brought huge amounts of money into the company.

Mr Brook agreed. ‘It is known within the company who the fast progressing members of the team are and who were bringing in large sales.’

Another colleague confronted Swain, saying: ‘You just assaulted her,’ and the defendant replied: “Sorry. I f***ed up” the jury were told.

The lawyer added: ‘When she returned from the Ladies Swain apologised and she complained to HR and during disciplinary proceedings this defendant wrote a letter of apology to her.

‘He wrote that he had little memory of the incident and was disappointed with himself.

‘He was allowed to stay on and the complainant was very uncomfortable because Swain did not seem to stick by his apology and she handed in her resignation.’

Another colleague David Igbinovia told the jury: ‘I saw him with his hand. It definitely contacted the backside, the bum.

‘She was mortified, absolutely shocked and I was as well. I said: “Michael, what the f*** are you doing?” We are family here. You just assaulted her.

‘She went to the toilet and she was in tears at that point and he said: “I’m sorry. I f***ed up”.

‘She was quite concerned about reporting this, with him being so hig h up in the company.’

Swain was questioned by police two weeks later and denied ever offering the young woman cocaine. He also said he was still drunk from the night before when he began drinking again.

‘He accepted he touched her bottom through drunken boisterousness and it was not a sexual thing,’ said Ms Chinner.

After Swain – who is no longer with the company – changed his plea to guilty Judge Jane Rowley bailed him until May 25 for sentencing, announcing: ‘I will be considering all options, including imprisonment.

‘There may be other options. We need to see why he behaved this way because there is nothing to suggest he has done anything like this in the past.

‘The complainant has waited months, years to give evidence due to the initial not guilty plea and I would appreciate a victim impact statement.’

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