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Thursday 5 December 2019

Conviction quashed after Supreme Court ruling

Brian Kavanagh

A MAN who was sentenced to two years for indecently assaulting his cousin nearly 30 years ago has had his conviction quashed – because he made admissions before his requested solicitor arrived at the garda station where he was being questioned.

The quashed conviction is the first appeal brought since the Supreme Court last month overturned the conviction of a man jailed for attempted rape, in a ruling that has prompted a government overhaul of suspects' custody rights.

That conviction of Raymond Gormley (29) was overturned after the Supreme Court ruled that statements he made to gardai during questioning were inadmissible – because they were made before he received legal advice. Now a second conviction has been quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal – a now 45-year-old man who in April 2012 was sentenced to two years' imprisonment by Judge Gerard Griffin.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of two counts of indecent assault by a unanimous verdict of a Naas Circuit Criminal Court jury.

He had pleaded not guilty to the offences against his cousin, which were alleged to have taken place at the applicant's home in Co Kildare in December 1986 and December 1987, when the complainant was between seven and eight years old.

Senior counsel Hugh Hartnett, representing the appellant, submitted that the trial judge erred in fact and in law in failing to exclude evidence of a garda interview with the accused man taken prior to a consultation with his solicitor, and in failing to uphold the constitutional right of reasonable access to a solicitor.

He told the court that during his first interview in detention, the man requested access to a solicitor.

Mr Hartnett said the man was told a solicitor had been contacted, but the interview proceeded.

He said the interview should have been suspended when the man requested a solicitor.

He submitted that the applicant's case fell squarely within the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in DPP v Gormley.

Presiding judge Mr Justice John MacMenamin quashed the conviction.

Irish Independent

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