Wednesday 23 May 2018

Man (24) accused of raping student in Dublin sent forward for trial

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Tom Tuite

A 24-year-old man was refused bail today when he was returned for trial to the Central Criminal Court accused of rape and false imprisonment of a Spanish student in Dublin.

The young woman, aged 18, who had just come to Ireland earlier this year to live with a host family had been in Dublin on July 15 when she was allegedly brought to waste-ground in the city’s south-side and raped in a tent.

The accused, who is from Dublin but cannot be named for legal reasons, faced his seventh hearing when he appeared before Judge Victor Blake at Cloverhill District Court on Friday. He was served with a book of evidence by Garda Bryan Hunt and Judge Blake made an order sending him forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

Initially he was charged with one count of rape, false imprisonment and threat to kill or cause serious harm to the woman at the Irish Glass Bottle site, in Ringsend in south Dublin.

Three additional charges were subsequently brought against the man: two additional counts of raping the woman and one charge for sexually assaulting her.

The accused, described by the defence as having a “difficult life”, made no application for bail at his first court appearance on July 21 last but today he launched a bid to get released pending his trial.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed that he face trial on indictment on all matters.

Judge Blake told him that if he intended to rely on an alibi in his defence at his trial he must notify the prosecution within 14 days. The accused twice replied “no” when asked if he understood and during a recess in the hearing it was explained to him by his solicitor Tony Collier. He has not yet indicated how he will plead.

Mr Collier said his client was applying for bail, however, Garda Hunt objected citing the seriousness of the charges and fears the accused would not turn up for his trial.

The garda accepted Mr Collier’s point that it could take up to a year before the man stands trial.

Mr Collier put it to him that the case relies on statements from the complainant along with DNA evidence. The solicitor said the accused made no admissions.

Garda Hunt said there was also CCTV evidence. He agreed the accused made no admissions in relation to sexual acts.

The man was accompanied to court by his mother and it was proposed by the defence that he would live with her at her house if he was granted bail.

However, Garda Hunt said the accused had been living in a tent for considerable time.

Mr Collier put it to him that he was concerned the defendant would not turn up for his trial but before he was charged he had been released from a garda station. Garda Hunt explained that this was because charges could not be brought until directions were received from the DPP.

The solicitor said at that point his client had a chance to flee but he did not take that opportunity and he returned to his family home. Garda Hunt said the man’s tent had been taken from him and he had no place to stay in Dublin 4 so it was natural that he would return to somewhere else.

Pleading for bail, Mr Collier asked the court to note his client still enjoyed the presumption of innocence and the State’s case has yet to be tested in terms of admissibility of evidence.

He said the man would abide by strict bail terms but his family was not in a position to provide a significant independent surety. The court heard the accused was on social welfare.

Mr Collier also told the court that his client had significant engagement in the past with psychiatrists and psychologists and he had a “a difficult life throughout”.

Judge Blake refused bail and ordered that the accused should be sent forward for trial in custody.

The defence indicated that the man may now bring an application for bail to the High Court.

The 24-year-old, who made no reply when charged with the offences, had been originally arrested on July 17, two days after the alleged rape but he was released without charge the following day. However, he was re-arrested for the purpose of being charged on July 21 last and has been in custody on remand since then.

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