Friday 18 October 2019

Entertainer facing sex assault charge pleads not guilty

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Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

An entertainer has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a young man.

The accused (26) is facing trial and had the case against him adjourned for the preparation of a book of evidence.

A ban on reporting the accused's name remains in place after Judge John Hughes said he wanted the alleged victim to be consulted before he would consider lifting the reporting restriction.

Eight national media outlets, including Independent News and Media, made a legal bid to remove the ban, but the judge deferred his decision and remanded the entertainer on bail to a date in November.

Yesterday was the entertainer's second date in Dublin District Court after his first appearance in August.

Prosecution barrister Diarmuid Collins said the DPP had directed the case to be dealt with at district court level on a guilty plea only. "I can confirm my client is pleading not guilty to the charge and therefore can be sent forward," defence barrister Michael Staines said.

Mr Collins said that in law, the complainant enjoyed anonymity while "the accused person does not".

"There is no direct nexus between the complainant and the accused," he said.

Mr Staines said the accused was not entitled to, or seeking, anonymity and not seeking to maintain the order. Whether identifying his client could identify the alleged victim was a matter for the court.

Shane English BL then made an application for the order to be set aside, saying he represented INM, the 'Irish Times', RTÉ, the 'Sunday Times', the 'Irish Sun', the 'Irish Examiner', the 'Irish Daily Mail' and 'Irish Daily Star'.

"I think it's appropriate that the [alleged victim] be consulted," Judge Hughes said.

Irish Independent

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