Judge rules media can name abuse trial priest
A FORMER priest awaiting trial on historic child sex-abuse charges does not have the right to anonymity, a judge has ruled.
William Carney is charged with 34 counts of indecent assault of eight boys and two girls at locations in Dublin and north-east Leinster from 1969 until 1989.
At Cloverhill District Court yesterday, Judge Grainne Malone lifted an earlier gagging order that prohibited the news media from naming the 62-year-old, who currently has no fixed address.
Her ruling followed submissions from lawyers for RTE, the 'Irish Times', the Irish Independent and Associated Newspapers, which publishes the 'Irish Daily Mail'.
The case was adjourned for two weeks.
John Fitzgerald BL, for RTE, said the Constitution stated that justice had to be administered in public. He argued that the media had to report on matters in the interest of the public.
He submitted that there was no statutory basis for the order prohibiting the naming of the accused man unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Solicitor Tony Williams, for the Irish Independent, also said that there was no legislative provision barring the identification of Carney.
"There has to be a question whether his right to a fair trial requires him to be anonymised, but there has been no evidence of that," he submitted.
The arguments advanced by the lawyers for RTE and the Irish Independent were reiterated by solicitors David Phelan and Michael Keely, who represented the 'Irish Times' and Associated Newspapers respectively.
State solicitor Tom Conlon also said there was no statutory impediment with regards to the defendant being identified but there was in relation to the anonymity of the alleged injured parties.
Carney's counsel Sinead Prunty asked the judge not to lift the order citing his right to a fair trial.
Ruling on this issue, the judge said the matters before the court were covered by case law, not by legislation, and she was not satisfied that the "exceptional circumstances argument" had been made by the defence.
She held that it was appropriate in those circumstances to remove the anonymity order in the case as it proceeds.