Tuesday 16 October 2018

Journalist pleads guilty to sex offences involving underage girl

The 53-year-old admitted to the charges when he was arraigned at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Stock image
The 53-year-old admitted to the charges when he was arraigned at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Stock image
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A prominent Irish journalist and author has pleaded guilty to six sex offences in relation to a child.

The 53-year-old admitted to the charges when he was arraigned at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

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.

The other four charges admitted by the man 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.

The journalist cannot be identified at present for legal reasons.

Wearing a dark suit and runners, he stood to the right of his counsel, Hugh Hartnett SC, as the charges were read out.

He only spoke in court to say "guilty" after each of the six charges was put to him.

The man had sat at a bench normally reserved for journalists and barristers while waiting for his case to be called.

He will be sentenced at a later date, provisionally set for July 3.

Prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe SC told Judge Patricia Ryan he was no longer pursuing three of the other charges.

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

Judge Ryan remanded him on continuing bail.

No evidence was heard regarding the circumstances of the offences.

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

The case had originally been scheduled to get under way on Monday, but was delayed for a day.

At the first hearing, the court was told a difficulty had arisen, as the accused's father was dying.

Following discussions between the defence and prosecution, it was decided the matter could proceed yesterday.

Irish Independent

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