Thursday 14 December 2017

Humphries could face 10 years for child sex offences

Tom Humphries pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of abuse of a girl under the age of 17. Photo: Collins
Tom Humphries pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to six counts of abuse of a girl under the age of 17. Photo: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Prominent journalist and author Tom Humphries could face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced next month for the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child.

The former 'Irish Times' sports writer pleaded guilty to six sex offences last March, but could not be named until now.

Other charges against him, in relation to a different allegation, were dropped yesterday.

Prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe SC told Judge Karen O'Connor at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he had been instructed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to enter a nolle prosequi (non-prosecution) in relation to those three charges.

Wearing a blue jacket, green shirt and grey trousers, Humphries sat alone in court and was not called upon to speak during the brief hearing.

His counsel, Hugh Hartnett SC, said he would require "a little time" to prepare for the sentencing hearing.

Judge Karen O’Connor. Photo: Courts Collins
Judge Karen O’Connor. Photo: Courts Collins

Mr Costelloe said the sentencing hearing would take half a day.

Judge O'Connor said she would list the case for sentencing on July 26.

However, she cautioned that she could not guarantee it would go ahead that day.

Last March, the 54-year-old, with an address at Corr Castle, Sutton, Co Dublin, admitted to six charges when he was arraigned.

Two of the charges related to the accused engaging in a sexual act with a girl under the age of 17 on or about December 5, 2010, and February 19, 2011.

The sexual acts occurred at an apartment in Dublin.

Guilty

The other four charges admitted by him were of sexually exploiting the same child by inviting her to engage or participate in a sexually explicit, indecent or obscene act on or about January 1, 2010, February 15, 2011, and March 4 and 18 the same year.

At that hearing, Humphries only spoke in court to say "guilty" after each of the six charges was put to him.

A number of other charges on the indictment are to be taken into account when he is being sentenced.

No evidence has been heard yet regarding the circumstances of the offences.

These details are expected to be disclosed at the sentencing hearing.

A request was made by Mr Hartnett that Humphries be excused from any further case-management hearings for health reasons.

But Judge O'Connor refused this application after an objection from Mr Costelloe, who said Humphries should be in court.

Sex offender's name could not be revealed until now

Former 'Irish Times' journalist Tom Humphries was arrested in relation to child sex allegations in September 2012.

Although his identity was widely known in media and sporting circles, it is only now, almost five years later, that he can be named.

Gardaí sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions following the arrest, but it was not until February of 2014 that he would appear in court on charges.

He could not be identified at the time because of the nature of the offences he was charged with.

When he finally came to be arraigned last March he pleaded guilty to six child sex charges put to him, relating to incidents in 2010 and 2011.

The court heard there were other charges in relation to the victim that could be taken into consideration at sentencing.

The court was also told a set of charges on another matter would be put to Humphries in July.

As this was the case, most media outlets decided not to name him, fearing prejudicing the second trial.

But since then there were developments and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided the second matter would not be brought to trial. Prosecuting barrister Shane Costelloe SC informed the court yesterday the State no longer wished to proceed with those charges. Reasons for the decision were not disclosed.

With a second trial no longer in prospect, the media was finally free to identify Humphries.

Irish Independent

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