Friday 21 October 2016

Two of five teens who allegedly 'lined up' to have sex with girl (15) plead not guilty

Andrew Phelan

Published 29/01/2016 | 14:51

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TWO of five South Dublin teenagers who allegedly 'lined up' to have sex with a 15-year-old girl at a house party have pleaded not guilty.

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The two youths - aged 17 and 16 - are now facing separate trials on charges arising from the alleged incident.

Their three co-accused - two aged 16 and one aged 18 - have yet to decide on pleas and had their cases adjourned.

In one case, the disclosure of evidence relating to "an anonymous letter" to a school has been queried by the defence.

The five youths, who are all charged with defilement, appeared in Tallaght District Court today to indicate how they intended to plead.

They are accused of having sex with the alleged victim individually at an impromptu party at her home in Rathfarnham, while she was drunk.

Judge Bridget Reilly adjourned the 17-year-old’s case for the preparation of a book of evidence for his jury trial, which will be held at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The 16-year-old who is pleading not guilty had his case put back to set a date for hearing in the non-jury Dublin District Court.

The remaining co-accused also had their cases adjourned.

None of the defendants spoke during today’s proceedings. Most were accompanied by their parents; one teenager’s father was absent and one was in court with his mother and an aunt.

The accused, from Rathfarnham, were all  juveniles at the time of the alleged offences on March 14, 2014. The girl was 15 years old at the time.

They are  all charged with the defilement of a child under the age of 17.

The DPP had directed that the charges could be dealt with summarily at district court level and another judge accepted jurisdiction.

Today, a solicitor for the 18-year-old said there was outstanding disclosure in the case - an “anonymous letter sent to the school.”

A garda said the letter was no longer in the possession of the prosecution, explaining: “it was just a piece of paper - it’s been discarded.”

The gardai were awaiting statements from school staff in relation to it, he said. Judge Reilly adjourned this case to a date in February.

A State solicitor told Judge Reilly the 17-year-old’s case was before the court for a decision on whether to elect for trial by jury.

“He wants to go to the circuit court, judge,” the defendant’s solicitor said.

The judge adjourned this case to a date in April for the preparation of the book of evidence.

A barrister for one of the the 16-year-olds said the youth had elected for the district court.

“The plea is not guilty and I ask the court to reserve a hearing date,” he said.

The judge was told the district court trial would take place in the Criminal Courts of Justice and video link facilities would be required. The barrister estimated it would take three days for his case alone.

The judge adjourned it for mention later to set a hearing date.

The fourth accused’s solicitor said disclosure of prosecution documents had only been received and he needed “time to go through it.”

The final teenager’s lawyer said: “I am seeking a short adjournment, a decision hasn’t been made.”

He said this was due to the “complexity” of the case. Judge Reilly said the court tried to get “juvenile matters done as quickly as possible.”

She remanded all the accused on continuing bail.

The boys were brought separately before the judge and left the courtroom with their parents after their cases were finished.

Previously, the court heard that it will be alleged that before the girl had sex with the fourth man she heard a voice outside her bedroom say: "Line up guys."

A garda told the court that it will be alleged that she left her home at 7pm and a bottle of vodka was purchased for her in a local shop.

The garda said the girl drank the bottle and friends brought her home at 8.30pm as she was drunk.

He said it will be alleged that an impromptu house party occurred at the house and the five males had sex with her.

The garda said that the injured party alleges that each of the males had pulled down her leggings and underwear.

It is alleged that they had sex with her individually, that she could not "physically say no" and that she was scared.

A condition of bail is that the accused reside at their home addresses and have no contact, directly or indirectly with the injured party including making reference to her on social media.

The offence of defilement, is  contrary to Section 3 (1) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 2006. In the judge-only district court the offence carries a maximum penalty on conviction of less than one year in prison.

On conviction on indictment in the circuit court, where trials are by judge and jury, the maximum potential sentence is five years.

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