Saturday 25 October 2014

Man who allegedly sexually assaulted girl at Croke Park sent for trial

Dublin man in his 50s faces some 40 charges including producing child pornography

Andrew Phelan

Published 29/04/2014 | 13:45

A DUBLIN man has been sent for trial charged with 50 counts of sexual offences against two young girls.

The accused, in his 50s, is facing trial by judge and jury and had a book of evidence served on him today.

The charges against him include an alleged sex assault on one girl at Croke Park and 40 counts of child sexual exploitation.

He was sent for trial by Judge Cormac Dunne at Dublin District Court this afternoon. The accused was remanded on continuing bail pending his next appearance, which will be in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court next month.

The offences are alleged to have happened on dates between 2007 and 2011 at locations including Croke Park, a hotel near Dublin Airport and at Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

The charges include 40 counts of child exploitation by inviting, inducing or coercing the alleged victim to engage in or participate in a sexual, indecent or obscene act. This includes engaging in the production of child pornography.

There are three counts of alleged sexual assault and seven of defilement of a child under the age of 17.

A State Solicitor said the DPP has directed that the accused, who cannot be named, is to be tried by judge and jury on all charges in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. She told Judge Dunne a book of evidence was ready to be served on the defendant.

Several minor amendments were made to the charges at the request of the prosecution. Defence Solicitor Michael Hennessy said the amendments were a matter for the court and he was neither objecting nor consenting to them.

The book was then handed to the accused.

Free legal aid was granted after Mr Hennessy presented a statement of the accused's financial means to the court and said it was "fully vouched". There were no objections to legal aid by the gardai.

At Mr Hennessy's request, the judge then warned the media of their legal obligations not to identify the accused.

Judge Dunne gave the defendant the formal warning that he must provide to the DPP within 14 days details of any alibi he intends to rely on in the course of his trial. He then sent him forward to the present sittings of the Circuit Court.

The case will be listed in that court on a date in May.

Bail conditions were amended to reduce to twice weekly the number of times he is to sign on at Ballymun Garda Station.

The defendant, wearing a navy blazer, blue shirt, navy patterned tie, blue jeans and black shoes addressed the court only to indicate that he understand the alibi warning. He said: 'yes, judge.'

At his first court appearance last February, Detective Garda Edward Burke said in evidence the man made no reply to any of the counts after caution.

Judge Dunne had granted bail in the accused's own bond of €500, with an independent surety of €2,000. Other conditions are that he surrenders his passport and agrees not to apply for a duplicate.

However, it was agreed that he can apply to the court to have his passport occasionally released. The judge said at the time if the gardai consented to the release of the passport "it would be remote and unlikely that there would be any objection" from the court.

The defendant's brother in law was previously approved to stand as surety in the case and was told the sum of €2,000 would be frozen in his account.

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