Friday 6 December 2019

Porter 'to rebuild life' as sex assault charge dropped

Comedian says he endured two 'anxious' years

Identified: Al Porter leaves court yesterday after the hearing. Photo: Collins Courts
Identified: Al Porter leaves court yesterday after the hearing. Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan and Melanie Finn

Comedian Al Porter now plans to concentrate on "rebuilding his life" after a sexual assault charge against him was dropped.

Walking free from court after prosecutors dropped the case against him, the former TV and radio presenter said it had been two "long and very anxious years" but he fully agreed with his anonymity being "waived."

Mr Porter (26) was identified for the first time yesterday as the entertainer who had been accused of sexually assaulting a young man at a popular Dublin venue in 2016.

Judge John Hughes lifted an earlier reporting ban after he struck the case out when it was withdrawn by the prosecution. Mr Porter, whose real name is Alan Kavanagh, had pleaded not guilty.

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The entertainer, from Tallaght but with an address at Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, has previously hosted 'Blind Date' on Virgin Media, was a lunchtime radio presenter on Today FM, and starred in Christmas pantos.

Yesterday was his third day in Dublin District Court on the sexual assault charge.

Prosecution barrister Diarmuid Collins told Judge Hughes: "The prosecution is not proceeding any further and I'm asking the court to strike out the charge."

The judge did so and told Mr Porter: "Thank you for coming to court, Mr Kavanagh."

The court was not told of any reason for the DPP's decision.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Porter said: "For two long and very anxious years, I have fully co-operated and I have respected the legal process.

"I was in complete agreement with waiving anonymity today, even before I knew that the DPP had made their decision to withdraw the case... because I have always denied any wrongdoing whatsoever in this case."

A close source said last night: "He left the court and went home with his mum and dad and had a cup of tea. He hasn't been able to work while this was hanging over him but he got through it and he's out the other side. So he wants to concentrate on rebuilding his life."

He has indicated that he won't be doing any media interviews in the short term as he looks ahead to new opportunities in 2020.

Eight national media outlets represented by Shane English BL had challenged the ban on naming Mr Porter and renewed their application to have it removed in court yesterday.

Mr English said Judge John O'Leary had made the original order prohibiting Mr Porter's identification and asked Judge Hughes to vacate it.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines said he was "neutral" but had earlier pointed out the potential of identifying the complainant by naming the "ex-accused". The complainant had been consulted, at Judge Hughes's request, on whether Mr Porter should be identified and the court heard the man had "no difficulty" with this.

It had always been the DPP's view that there was no necessity for Mr Porter to have anonymity, Mr Collins said.

There was no direct connection between Mr Porter and the complainant.

Irish Independent

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