Tuesday 21 November 2017

Man (18) denies sexually assaulting girl (14) while she was sleeping

Stock picture
Stock picture

Tom Tuite

The trial of a youth, who denies sexually assaulting a young girl after she fell asleep, has been delayed to allow witnesses give evidence via video-link.

The 18-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of the girl, then aged 14, at an apartment in north Dublin on a date last year.

The youth was aged 17, a juvenile, at the time of the alleged incident and was due to go on trial over two days this week at the Dublin Children’s Court.

However, Judge John O’Connor acceded to a request by the State to vacate the trial date on the grounds that the complainant and two other witnesses wish to give evidence via video-link, a facility which has not been installed at the Children’s Court building in Smithfield in Dublin city-centre.

Judge O’Connor adjourned the case until later this month for mention for the new trial date at a venue with the necessary facilities to be set.

The teenager had been arrested in a midlands town and charged in April.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that the case could be dealt with at Children’s Court level and not in the Circuit Court, which can impose lengthier sentences.

Detective Garda Michael Harkin had said earlier that it was alleged the girl’s sister was in a relationship with a member of the youth’s family. It was alleged the girl fell asleep on a couch in the apartment and the youth attempted to sexually abuse her but she woke up and pushed him away.

It was reported immediately to gardai and the girl was taken to a sexual assault treatment unit for an examination. The court heard she has been left very traumatised.

Judge O'Connor has accepted jurisdiction for the case to remain in the juvenile court.

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