News Courts

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Sports journalist ‘induced teenage girl into making pornography'

Well-known reporter faces 50 separate charges as he appears in court

Andrew Phelan

Published 25/02/2014 | 12:46

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Vincent O’Donoghue (62) of Whitworth Road, Drumcondra was extradited from Australia last year (2013) after spending four years in custody fighting the extradition.

A PROMINENT sports journalist has been charged with sexual assault of a young girl at Croke Park and at least 40 offences relating to sexual exploitation of a child.

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The man, who is in his 50s, appeared in Dublin District Court this morning on a range of offences against two alleged victims.

The charges include defilement of a child under the age of 17, sexual assault of a female at a hotel carpark near Dublin Airport and at Letterkenny, Donegal.

The offences are alleged to have happened at locations including a hotel near Dublin Airport.

It is also alleged that he induced another teenage girl into making pornography

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.

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

Judge Cormac Dunne granted him bail and adjourned the case for eight weeks for the preparation of a book of evidence.

The DPP has directed that accused, who cannot be named, is to be tried by judge and jury on all charges in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The defendant, wearing a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and green tie, did not address the court during the hearing.

Detective Garda Edward Burke said in evidence he arrested the man at Ballymun Garda Station this morning at 9.02am.

He was charged by Sgt Kevin Roche and made no reply to any of the counts after caution. He was then handed copies of the charges sheets.

Defence Solicitor Michael Hennessy said bail terms had been agreed between with the prosecution, subject to the court's approval.

State Solicitor Michael Durkan said the DPP was directing trial on indictment on all charges.

Judge Dunne granted bail in the accused's own bond of €500, with an independent surety of €2,000. Conditions are that the defendant signs on three times per week at Ballymun Garda Station, 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 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.

An application for free legal aid was deferred after Mr Hennessy said he was not making one at this point.

Mr Hennessy raised the issue of reporting restrictions and Mr Durkan told the court that no order needed to be made because it was prohibited in law to identify the accused because of the offences he was charged with.

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

The defendant did not address the court during the proceedings, speaking only to consult Mr Hennessy. He nodded when Judge Dunne thanked him.

He was remanded on bail to appear in court again on April 29, for the preparation of a book of evidence.

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