Monday 29 December 2014

Businessman extradited from US over alleged sexual abuse of former partner's children

Andrew Phelan

Published 23/07/2014 | 12:41

Gardai are investigating
Gardai are investigating

A UK businessman has been extradited to Ireland from the US on multiple charges of sexually abusing his former partner’s two children here.

The accused, who is in his 30s, was refused bail at Dublin District Court today and remanded in custody for a week.

He is facing 30 counts of sexual assault and three of rape against the two alleged victims, who were aged 10 and 12 at the time. Gardai objected to bail on grounds that he was a flight risk because he was living in a South American country which has no extradition treaty with Ireland.

The court heard he had been "transiting" through Florida when he was arrested.

The accused is charged with 33 sexual offences against two girls, aged 10 and 12 at the time. The offences are alleged to have happened at a location in the north east of Ireland and a Dublin hotel on dates in 2010 and 2011.

Detective Garda Michael Scanlon said he was a member of the investigation team and went to Orlando Airport to collect the defendant at 7.35pm Eastern Standard Time yesterday.

The accused had been arrested in Florida on June 20 and consented to his extradition.

He was handed into the garda’s custody by a US Marshall and was flown to Dublin Airport, where he was arrested on foot of 33 warrants. He was then taken to Ballymun Garda Station where he was charged.

Det Gda Scanlon said he was objecting to bail on the grounds of the nature and seriousness of the alleged offences and his belief that the accused would leave the jurisdiction.

Outlining the background, he said the defendant came to Ireland from the UK with his former partner and her children following investigations by social services.

He set up a business here and funded his former partner’s travels when she had to leave the jurisdiction. The offences were alleged to have happened while she was away.

At one point, he brought the children into Northern Ireland, where he was stopped by the PSNI. There was no complaint made at that point but after he left Ireland, the eldest child made a complaint, followed by the younger one.

As a result of their disclosures, a file was submitted to the DPP who directed charges.

Det Gda Scanlon said the charges carried a substantial potential sentence on conviction. A large number of witness statements had been obtained.

He went on to say the defendant had no ties to this country apart from his former partner and had a UK passport.

He had access to “considerable funds”, having sold a house in the UK for €400,000. The defendant had also applied for permanent resident status in South America.

Gardai believed if granted bail, the accused would return there and would “stay out of the reach of Irish authorities.”

The court heard the country he was living in and Ireland had no bilateral extradition treaty.

Defence Solicitor Philip Hannon, applying for bail, said the accused’s current partner and brother had organised a residence he could take up here.

He was prepared to observe a curfew and not apply for any travel documents. There was no evidence he had fled the jurisdiction to evade prosecution and he had consented to his extradition, Mr Hannon added.

State Solicitor Ray Briscoe said the defendant had been “transiting through Florida when he was arrested. He would otherwise have returned to South America and remained “inaccessible.”

Judge James Faughnan refused bail and remanded the defendant in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court on July 30, for the preparation of a book of evidence.

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