Saturday 23 September 2017

Aras Attracta trial gets green light to proceed

Pictured clockwise: Christina Delaney (35) Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Kathleen King (56) Knockshanvally Straide, Foxford in Co Mayo; Pat McLoughlin (56) Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo; Anna Ywunong Botsimbo (34) Low Park Avenue, Charlestown Co Mayo and Joan Walsh (42) Carrowilkeen, Curry Co Sligo
Pictured clockwise: Christina Delaney (35) Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Kathleen King (56) Knockshanvally Straide, Foxford in Co Mayo; Pat McLoughlin (56) Lalibela, Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo; Anna Ywunong Botsimbo (34) Low Park Avenue, Charlestown Co Mayo and Joan Walsh (42) Carrowilkeen, Curry Co Sligo
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE trial against five care workers at the Aras Attracta facility is set to proceed after Judge Mary Devins ruled the evidence must be restricted to two days when the alleged assaults took place.

This morning at Castlebar District Court it emerged that over 300 files have been deleted from the recordings which are being relied on by the prosecution in the case.

The significant number of deletions came to light after the Master drive held by RTE and the evidential drive provided to gardai were examined by technical experts at Harcourt St in Dublin.

It also emerged that files had been deleted from the Master drive and replaced with copies from the working drive.

Following this defence counsel Gearoid Geraghty once again applied for the cases against all five to be dismissed.

However, Judge Devins stated that she satisfied that it was “in the public interest” that the trial should proceed.

State prosecutor Patrick Reynolds said the State was happy to proceed and happy to rely on the integrity of the clips for November 14 and 15 - that relate to the alleged assaults.

He told the court the technology fingerprint was in order for the dates in question.

Judge Devins said she found it "surprising and unsettling" the lack of scrutiny from all parties to the evidence that had been provided before the case began.

She said the lack of scrutiny had led to irregularities and difficulties that she had never come across in any other case before her in the District Court.

She said she had never come across a case where during the trial evidence appeared to be new not just to the Defence but to the Prosecution.

“There was a lack of proper scrutiny by everyone involved here. From RTE to the gardai to the Prosecution to the Defence teams,” she said.

“It’s actually very surprising and unsettling,” she added.

She said the lack of proper scrutiny had created a sandstorm and in her view the matter should be paired down to what they are, minor offences which can only be dealt with in the District Court.

It also emerged that the Prosecution had consulted once again with the DPP who directed ongoing prosecution in the case. 

Five people are facing charges of assault at Bungalow Three, Aras Attracta, Swinford Co Mayo.

Pat McLoughlin (56) Lalibela, Mayfield,Claremorris, Co Mayo; Christina Delaney (35) Seefinn, Lissatava, Hollymount, Co Mayo; Anna Ywunong Botsimbo (34) Low Park Avenue,Charlestown Co Mayo; Joan Walsh (42) Carrowilkeen, Curry Co Sligo and Kathleen King (56) Knockshanvally Straide, Foxford in Co Mayo all face a single charge of assault alleged to have taken place on dates in November, 2014. Each denies the charge.

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