Thursday 26 April 2018

Journalist accused of sex attack on girl in Croke Park

Croke Park
Croke Park

A SPORTS journalist is facing 50 alleged abuse charges against two young girls, including the sexual assault of a young girl at Croke Park.

The man in his 50s has been charged in Dublin District Court with multiple counts of child sex abuse and exploitation against two alleged victims, including inducing one of the alleged victims into making pornography.

The charges include defilement of a child under the age of 17, sexual assault of a female at Croke Park, at a hotel car park near Dublin Airport and at a location in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

He faces a total of 40 counts of child exploitation by inviting, inducing or coercing the alleged victims to engage in or participate in a sexual, indecent or obscene act.

There are three counts of alleged sexual assault and seven of defilement of a child under the age of 17.

He appeared in court yesterday where Judge Cormac Dunne granted him bail and adjourned the case for eight weeks for the preparation of a book of evidence.

The DPP has directed that the accused, who cannot be named, is to be tried by judge and jury on all charges in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The defendant, wearing a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and green tie, did not address the court during the hearing.

Detective Garda Edward Burke said in evidence he arrested the man at Ballymun station yesterday at 9.02am.

He was charged by Sgt Kevin Roche and made no reply to any of the counts after caution. He was then handed copies of the charge sheets.

Defence solicitor Michael Hennessy said bail terms had been agreed with the prosecution, subject to the court's approval.

State solicitor Michael Durkan said the DPP was directing trial on indictment on all charges. This means his case will go forward for trial in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, but first he must |be served with a book of evidence.

Judge Dunne granted bail in the accused's own bond of €500, with an independent surety of €2,000. Conditions are that the defendant signs on three times a week at Ballymun Garda Station, surrenders his passport and agrees not to apply for a duplicate.

However, it was agreed that he can apply to the court to have his passport occasionally released.

The judge said if gardai consented to the release of the passport “it would be remote and unlikely that there would |be any objection” from the court.

An application for free legal aid was deferred after Mr Hennessy said he was not making one at this point.

Mr Hennessy raised the issue of reporting restrictions and Mr Durkan told the court that no order needed to be made because it was prohibited in law to identify the accused because of the offences he was charged with.

The defendant's brother-in-law was approved to stand as surety in the case and was told the sum of €2,000 would be frozen in his account.

The defendant did not address the court during the proceedings, speaking only to consult Mr Hennessy.

He was remanded on bail to appear in court again on April 29, for the preparation of a book of evidence.

Andrew Phelan

Irish Independent

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