Wednesday 26 October 2016

Teenager accused of having sex with underage girl launches legal bid to prevent his trial from going ahead

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 27/06/2016 | 17:51

Four Courts
Four Courts

A TEENAGER accused of having sex with an underage girl has launched a High Court challenge aimed at preventing his trial from going ahead.

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The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, is facing trial before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on charge that he engaged in sexual intercourse with the girl at an address in Dublin in March 2014. He was 15 at the time.

He claims that because of a delay in prosecuting his right to fair trial has been prejudiced.

The accused is one of several young males charged after a complaint was made to the gardai.

He arrested some months after the alleged incident, but was not charged until October 2015. The book of evidence was served earlier this year.

When the matter came before Dublin Circuit Court a trial was fixed for December.

His lawyers asked the Circuit Court for an earlier trial date because he turns 18 years of age before December meaning certain implications befall him.

The DPP,  his lawyers say, has indicated it is not possible to have an earlier trial date due to the availability of witnesses.

In his challenge, he says the DPP has failed to prosecute the case in a proper or expeditious manner in breach of his constitutional and European Convention rights.

It is claimed the length and unexplained the prosecutorial delay disregards the special consideration which ought to be afforded to children in the criminal justice system.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted his lawyers leave to bring the action and it will return before the court later this week.

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