Friday 23 August 2019

Female teacher (24) accused of engaging in sex act with teenage student to face trial

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Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A TEACHER has been sent for trial accused of engaging in a sex act with a teenage boy who was a student in her school.

The woman (24), who is also accused of sexually exploiting the youth, had a book of evidence served on her at Swords District Court today.

Judge Dermot Dempsey sent her forward for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The accused, who claimed she met the boy at an over 18s nightclub, has since lost her job.

She is charged with engaging in a sex act with a male child under the age of 17 on February 1 and February 13 last year.

The offences are contrary to Section 3(1) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.

The accused was initially charged last October after she was arrested by investigating gardai at Dublin Airport when she returned to Ireland on a flight.

She was further charged in February with four new offences; two further charges of defilement and two of sexually exploiting a child on February 1 and February 13, 2018.

Detective Garda Stephen Hughes previously told the court the teacher replied "I met him at an over 18s nightclub" when she was charged with those new offences.

Today, Det Gda Hughes served the book of evidence on the accused.

The woman, dressed in a navy hooded jacket over a grey top, with blue jeans and blue and white runners, stepped forward when her case was called.

A State solicitor said the book of evidence was ready and had been served, and the DPP was consenting to the case being sent forward to the present sittings of the circuit court.

Judge Dempsey gave the woman the formal caution that she must provide details of any alibi she intends to rely on in her trial to the prosecution within 14 days.

She nodded when asked if she understood the alibi caution.

The judge also ordered the prosecution to furnish the defence with a copy of the accused's garda interview video.

The woman was sent forward on existing bail conditions subject to one amendment. Defence solicitor Emer O'Sullivan asked the judge to vary bail to allow her client's passport to be returned to her on a date in July. It would be surrendered again two weeks later, she said.

Judge Dempsey made the change to bail after hearing there was no prosecution objection, and also extended free legal aid to cover both junior and senior counsel at the circuit court.

Ms O'Sullivan had made this request in light of the potential sentence on conviction. There was no change in the accused's circumstances, she said.

After she signed her bail bond, Judge Dempsey asked the accused if she understood the terms.

"Yes," she replied, nodding.

As part of her bail conditions, previously outlined, the woman has been ordered not to have any contact, either directly or indirectly, with the alleged victim or any witnesses for the duration of the case.

She will appear in the circuit court on May 31.

The media was again warned that reporting restrictions are in place preventing the identification of the young teacher.

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