Monday 16 September 2019

Entertainer in court over alleged sex assault at Dublin venue

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Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A well-known entertainer has appeared in court charged with sexually assaulting a young man.

The accused (26) is alleged to have assaulted the man in a Dublin venue.

The case against him was adjourned at Dublin District Court this morning after a judge banned reporting of his identity, at the request of the entertainer's lawyer.

The man is accused of one count of sexual assault on the alleged victim at a venue on a date in December, 2016.

When the case was called, the public were ordered to leave the court, as the proceedings were held in camera, but members of the accused’s family were permitted to stay for the hearing.

A garda sergeant told Judge John O’Leary evidence of the accused’s arrest, charge and caution had been submitted to the court by certificate.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines said this morning’s proceedings would be a “very short matter.” Garda Shane Behan said the directions of DPP were for summary disposal at district court level on a guilty plea only.

This means if the accused is contesting the charge, he will be sent forward for trial by judge and jury to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Disclosure of prosecution statements had been furnished to the defence this morning, Gda Behan said.

The accused was already on bail granted at a garda station and there was no objection to this continuing, with no conditions attached.

Garda Behan said the alleged victim was entitled to anonymity and asked for reporting restrictions prohibiting the publication of anything that might identify the alleged injured party.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines asked for "similar" restrictions, to include the name and address of the accused and the location of the alleged offence.

A media representative asked the court to explain the legal basis for extending the right of anonymity of the complainant to restrict publication of the accused’s name.

Judge O’Leary said there was provision for this in law.

A state solicitor said it was provided for in the the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981, providing for the anonymity of complainants.

“The garda is of the view that any of those details could potentially identify the (alleged) injured party,” she said.

The judge made the reporting restriction order to cover naming the accused and adjourned the case, remanding the accused on continuing bail to appear in court again on October 9.

The accused, dressed in a navy blue suit, with a light blue tie and white shirt remained silent throughout the brief hearing.

No details of the allegations against him were disclosed in court and he has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charge.

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