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Wednesday 23 July 2014

High Court refuses to halt man's trial for allegedly indecently assaulting ten children

Published 03/04/2014|16:28

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The Four Courts Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

THE High Court has refused to stop a man's trial for allegedly indecently assaulting ten children because of prejudicial publicity.

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The 64-year-old man was charged last year with abusing the children in the 1970s and 1980s and is awaiting trial before the Circuit Criminal Court. 

While he has been granted bail, he has been unable to take it up and remains in custody.  

He can only be referred to as "XY" by order of the High Court.

He claimed he would not receive a fair trial because of the amount of pre-trial publicity including references to him as a paedophile and child abuser.

He is pleading not guilty and his ability to maintain his innocence is very much prejudiced by the publicity his case had received, he claimed.

The DPP opposed his challenge saying he had failed to establish a risk of not receiving a fair trial.  It was in the interests of justice and the community that the trial should go ahead and any issues about prejudicial publicity could be dealt with by directions from the trial judge, it was argued.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Marie Baker refused to stop his trial saying that while the publicity had been sensationalised and highly emotive in tone, she was satisfied his right to a fair trial could be vindicated by directions from the judge who will hear the criminal case.

She also believed this case would benefit from the "fade factor" - the theory that the  further away in time a media report has been, the less likely a juror is to be affected when the case is heard.

It was 12 months since the last report on the man of any substance and it would probably be another year before his trial gets on, she said.

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