Wednesday 18 September 2019

Arson charge struck out against convicted rapist Eoin Berkeley over delay

Eoin Berkeley
Eoin Berkeley
Eoin Berkeley. Photo: Damien Eagers
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

AN arson case against a rapist has been struck out after a court heard it was not ready to proceed.

Eoin Berkeley (25), who is serving 14 years in jail for raping a Spanish student in 2017, had been charged with setting fire to industrial bins in an unrelated incident in Dublin only weeks before the sex attack.

Berkeley, originally from Finglas, had been accused of committing arson in Liberty Lane, Dublin 8, on May 31, 2017.

The case first came before District Court in May, after the DPP consented to it being dealt with summarily at district court level.

However, in June a judge refused jurisdiction to deal with the case and adjourned it for the preparation of a book of evidence, pending a circuit court trial.

On Berkeley’s last court date earlier this month, a garda sergeant said the DPP’s directions were not yet available as the file had not been submitted.

At that stage, defence barrister Garrett Casey said he had already received disclosure from the prosecution of statements in relation to the allegation.

When the case came back before Dublin District Court yesterday, a garda sergeant said there was no book of evidence and the judge struck the charge out.

The court did not hear any further explanation for the absence of directions from the DPP or a book of evidence.

Berkeley, appearing more heavily-built than when he first went into custody, with a shaven head and dressed in a heavy black jacket, stood silently in the dock throughout.

He glanced around the courtroom as his case was dealt with, then consulted Mr Casey when the proceedings ended.

Berkeley was jailed at the Central Criminal Court last November after he pleaded guilty to raping a Spanish student on wasteland at the Irish Glass Bottle Company site, Pigeon House Road, on three occasions between July 15 and 16, 2017.

He made “blood-curdling” threats to kill her as he subjected her to a 21-hour ordeal after abducting her and falsely imprisoning her in a tent.

Berkeley told the terrified teenager he had killed six people as he threatened to smash her head with a rock, and said he would cut her hands off with a saw.

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