Friday 23 March 2018

Masseur accused of sexually assaulting customer claims he cannot get fair trial

Judge's gavel.
Judge's gavel.

A masseur accused of sexually assaulting one of his customers claims his prosecution should be halted because he cannot get a fair trial.

The accused claims he is prejudiced due to the alleged victim's refusal to identify two other men she claims sexually assaulted and raped her many years prior to the alleged. 

He denies the allegation he sexually assaulted the woman, then aged in her twenties, during the course of the massage that took place in August 2011.

The information sought about the two other men, which was only brought to the defence's attention on the morning he was due to be tried before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court,  is required to test the credibility of the complainant's allegation of sexual assault, it is argued.

Philipp Rahn Bl, for the married masseur, said without the names of the two individuals alleged to have sexually assaulted the complainant, they cannot explore "a potential line of inquiry" which is relevant to the defence.

It was particularly important in the context where an uncorroborated allegation was being made against the masseur, counsel said. The accused's lawyers wish to speak to the two individuals about the allegations, he said.

Arising out of this, the accused has brought judicial review proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecution seeking an order prohibiting his trial from taking place.

The DPP opposes the action. Neither the masseur nor the alleged injured party can be identified for legal reasons.

The court heard the accused's trial was adjourned in 2013 when she informed gardai she was sexually assaulted by a man when she was a child and was raped by another man when she was a teenager.

Both alleged incidents occurred in the 1990's, she claimed.

She did not disclose this information beforehand, and did not make a formal complaint to the gardai.

She said the two men are known to her but she did not want either matter pursued, or identify the alleged perpetrators. She did not wish to revive the pain of those events, she has stated.

Opposing the application, Siobhan Phelan Bl, for the DPP, said that there was nothing before the court to allow it conclude the accused person in this case cannot get a fair trial.

Counsel said the fact the names have not been disclosed to either the gardai or the defence was "neither here nor there".

Counsel added that she did not know what purpose knowing the identities of the two men who alleged attacked the woman in the 1990 would serve in the trial.

Counsel also argued that the accused had delayed in bringing judicial review proceedings, and the application should be struck out. 

The case continues.

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