Sunday 23 October 2016

Trial of First Dates star accused of harassing Dylan McGrath delayed as chef 'bed-ridden'

Andrew Phelan

Published 16/09/2016 | 14:42

RTE First Dates Ireland star Daphney Sanasie has been charged with harassing celebrity chef Dylan McGrath
RTE First Dates Ireland star Daphney Sanasie has been charged with harassing celebrity chef Dylan McGrath

THE trial of an RTE First Dates star accused of harassing Dylan McGrath has been delayed after a court heard the celebrity chef is bed-ridden from back pain.

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Daphney Sanasie (26), a South African model is pleading not guilty to harassment and the hearing was due to go to ahead at Dublin District Court later this month.

However, when the case came before Judge Cormac Dunne today for mention, a State solicitor said Mr McGrath was to ill to attend the trial.

Judge Dunne postponed it and asked gardai to keep in touch with the chef in relation to his medical condition.

Ms Sanasie, with an address at Jamestown Road in Dublin 8 is charged with harassment of Dylan McGrath (39) at various locations in the State from Sept. 9 until Nov. 21 last.

“The injured party recently had serious surgery on his back and is currently under medical consideration,” the State solicitor said. “He is not in any fit way to come to court. It is not definitive at this point when he will be able to come to trial.”

Defence barrister Rachel McGovern said she was opposing the prosecution’s application for an adjournment.

She said Ms Sanasie was finished her studies in Ireland and wished to return to Cape Town. She was anxious that the case is heard.

Ms McGovern said a medical report before the court was “open-ended” and there was no indication of when Mr McGrath would be available.

Judge Dunne said justice was a “two way street” and if the accused was indisposed the court would be asked to accommodate her.

“There’s no deliberate interference with justice here, there is an ill witness,” Judge Dunne said.

He said the medical report stated the witness’ mobility was impeded and there was “nothing unclear about that.”

Garda Colm Kelly of the Bridewell Station said Mr McGrath was in a “bad way.”

“Mostly, he’s bed-ridden,” he said, explaining this was due to the pain he suffered when he was mobile.

The court heard there would be 12 witnesses in the case. Garda Kelly said this could be streamlined if the detention of the accused was not being contested.

“The accused is also entitled to as early a trial as possible,” Judge Dunne said.

He adjourned the case to October 28, for mention and asked Garda Kelly to ask Mr McGrath how he was progressing.

Ms McGovern made a request to have the two phones involved in the case independently forensically analysed.

The prosecution had had the opportunity to have both phones examined and the defence wanted the same opportunity, she said.

Garda Kelly said everything relevant to the case had been disclosed to the defence. Ms McGovern said hard copies had been received but content was disputed and she wanted to have the phones expertly examined.

Judge Dunne deferred a decision on this application, saying it might be “premature.”

Ms Sinasie, wearing a red dress, black ribboned hat and black shoes, did not address the court.

She first appeared in court on April 15 last. At a previous hearing the court was told that the DPP has directed summary disposal of the case meaning it is to stay in the district court and not go forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

The offence, at district court level, can result in a fine and a maximum 12 month sentence.

The accused was known as Federica Sanasie when she appeared on RTE matchmaking TV series First Dates earlier this year.

Mr McGrath – one of Ireland's best known chefs – was a proprietor of Mint restaurant in Ranelagh which was awarded a Michelin Star before he opened the Rustic Stone by Dylan McGrath on South Great George's Street.

He was also a judge on the Irish version of hit show Masterchef.

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