independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Judge angry over delay in confessed child rapist case

Judge Geoffrey Browne
Judge Geoffrey Browne

A JUDGE has criticised the State's delay in dealing with the case of a man who has admitted horrific rape crimes against children.

Judge Geoffrey Browne yesterday described as "a total waste of state resources" the apparent insistence on the preparation of a book of evidence in the case after the accused man had indicated he was waiving his right to the book and pleading guilty to all charges.

Harristown District Court in Co Roscommon heard last month that the Director of Public Prosecutions had agreed to accept signed pleas of guilty in the case.

The 30-year-old accused man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faces a total of five charges of raping two little girls in Athlone, Co Westmeath, last September.

He is charged with raping one of the girls three times and raping the second child twice. The victims are aged 6 and 9.

The girls had been attending a birthday party in the area on September 28 and the alarm was raised when they were discovered to be missing. It later emerged that they had been raped at a nearby house.

He has been on suicide watch at the prison.

Harristown District Court was told that he had indicated he would be pleading guilty to the charges when the case comes before the Central Criminal Court.

Last month Gearoid Geraghty, solicitor for the accused, told the court that the DPP was accepting the signed pleas.

But when the case was called yesterday Inspector Padraig Jones applied to have the accused man remanded in continuing custody to next month for preparation of the book of evidence.

Mr Geraghty told Judge Geoffrey Browne that he was at a loss to understand where the instructions were coming from in the case.

EVALUATION

On October 4, he had written to the DPP indicating a plea of guilty, subject to a psychological evaluation of his client. Following that evaluation, he acknowledged that his client was waiving his right to the book of evidence.

He again confirmed the facts on October 30 and, following the laying of a further charge against his client in December, he once more confirmed the guilty plea to all five charges.

On December 13, Mr Geraghty advised the court that the DPP had agreed to accept the guilty pleas. He said he was objecting to the State's application.

Inspector Jones said that he was not in possession of all of the facts in the case and yesterday asked Judge Browne to adjourn the case for a week to allow the state solicitor for Westmeath to come to court to deal with the matter.

Judge Browne said: "One week -- that's it. It's crazy, a total waste of state resources."

Irish Independent

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