A woman has claimed she was groped by veteran comedian Sil Fox when she asked to have her photo taken with him on a Christmas night out in Dublin.

Sylvester "Sil" Fox, 86, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of a woman at a bar in the city centre's southside on 17 December 2018.

He has gone on trial before Judge Paula Murphy at Dublin District Court.

The hearing resumes on 11 March next.

Mr Fox, with an address at Wellington Lawn, Templeogue, Dublin 6, had been asked for a selfie picture with the middle-aged woman, the court heard.

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Judge Murphy she had been on a Christmas night out with friends.

Questioned by State solicitor Alva O'Herlihy, she said Mr Fox came up to her group and said: "Hi ya girls, are you looking for men and there was a blatant chorus of 'no' and he said f*** you and turned away from us", but that was described by another witness as banter or a joke.

Mr Fox was a performer popular with her parents' generation and she wanted a photo with him to show her father. She tapped him on his side and he agreed.

She gave her phone to her friend to set up the picture as Mr Fox turned and asked if they were ready. She told him she liked a brooch of a clown he had on the lapel of his jacket.

He agreed to the photo and put his right hand on the back of her chair and his left hand in front as he stood to her side, she said.

The court heard that as her friend said "smile", Mr Fox put his hand on the woman's lap, on to her groin and proceeded to sexually assault her. The woman claimed, in doing so he said, "You will always remember where this picture was taken."

She was stunned and did not say anything "and he scurried away", she told the court. "I was sick, stunned, I was floored, oh my God, this man has interfered with me," she said.

She turned to her friends and said to the three of them, "that man is after groping me, he's after sexually assaulting me".

She said she was stunned and totally embarrassed and it was "totally without my consent".

She said she did not know what to do or say but she did not want to make a fuss and did her utmost to enjoy the night and put a brave face on it.

"I did my utmost to recover from an embarrassing and actually terrifying situation," she said. The night continued and there was joking and laughing and after the band finished she confronted Mr Fox who was talking to other men.

She told Mr Fox, "You sexually assaulted me, you groped me, and you are a dirty old man". His reply, she claimed, was "You should be so lucky" and she then told him she would "put you on Facebook".

She claimed he asked her address a couple of times and then her name but she would not give him any details. The complainant alleged he told her "this is ridiculous, this is stupid".

She claimed he told her she had no witness but she told him about her friends and he went to talk to them.

At their table, she alleged, he told her friends, "Do you hear what she is saying about me?" and she claimed he said they were all mad bitches. One of her friends asked him to go away, she said and she spoke to the manager of the venue who told her he would keep the CCTV footage.

Cross examined by defence counsel Emer Ní Chúagáin (instructed by solicitor Michael French) she said the assault lasted for 30 seconds during the taking of the photograph. Asked why he was smiling in the photo she said she was shocked and did not know what to say.

She said three quarters way through he whispered in her ear and groped her.

She did not think it was an accident or that his hand slipped. She realised what was happening and stopped smiling but the photo had been taken.

She said he put his hand on her and tickled with his fingers and it lasted split seconds. Asked why she said in her statement split second only, she said that was a typo and should have said split seconds.

She could not explain why a friend who was present had a different recollection of what she told her Mr Fox had whispered.

Counsel said the first garda she reported it to also had different version.

She told her friends at the same time, she said. Her comment about putting him on Facebook was spur of the moment and she was not computer literate, she said.

She agreed it was unusual for someone to stay at the same location after they had sexually assaulted someone.

CCTV was shown to her and she agreed it took three seconds, not 30, to take the photo and her hand was going toward Mr Fox as he leaned in.

She accepted his left hand could be seen in front on the table as the photo was taken and his other hand was on the back of the chair.

Counsel suggested it was impossible and she replied that she did not know, but she said he had lowered his hand and touched her inappropriately. Maybe it felt like 30 seconds, she added. She also said maybe he brought his other hand around and she rejected suggestions it did not happen.

Her friends at the table did not see it but saw her expression change after the photo was taken and she became more upset as the night went on and after she confronted him. It was accepted they also had a sing song later.

One of her friends told the court she understood the complainant had said he would have touched her inappropriately if she had not been "carrying weight".

The gardaí were not called that night because they felt it was her decision. She made her first complaint the following day.

Detective Garda Shane Behan said his note of the complainant's allegation was that it happened in a split second.

Mr Fox came to Pearse Street station voluntarily. He gave gardaí a handwritten account of the night and agreed to be interviewed and that he did not need a solicitor.

He told the detective he was there with friends but was not intoxicated.

He said she was a liar and trying to "ruin my name".

He denied the allegation completely. He was shown the CCTV and told gardaí it showed him doing a selfie but he did not touch her vagina and "that is a load of crap".

She had put her hand around him, he said.

In his note he asked if drink had given her false courage and "where is it in the photo?". He wrote that he was a Mass going Catholic and as a result of health problems 11 years ago his libido had vanished.

He accused her of trying to ruin his reputation with false accusations.

In the account he gave gardaí, he wrote that he had never been accused of anything improper during 50 years in showbiz. "I have been in hundreds of selfies, as far as I am concerned I am being shafted".

Detective Behan agreed with defence counsel that Mr Fox had no prior convictions and had never been accused of an offence before.

The State has closed its case, and the court is to hear a defence application when the case resumes.