Tuesday 20 February 2018

Professional masseur accused of sexually assaulting woman he was massaging has trial 'stopped'

Photo: Getty Images.
Photo: Getty Images.

Tim Healy

A professional masseur accused of sexually assaulting a woman he was massaging has got a court order stopping his trial unless certain information is provided to him by his accuser.

The man, who denies the charge, sought to stop his trial after the woman revealed she had previously alleged rape and sexual assault as a child but had not made formal complaints to gardai about them.

He asked the High Court to order she provide the identities of the perpetrators of those alleged crimes so that his lawyers would have the opportunity to cross-examine her about them at his trial.  This was critical to her credibility, it was argued.

The High Court rejected his application saying he had not discharged the onus of establishing there was a real risk of an unfair trial.  There was ample material available to the man's lawyers to conduct a meaningful cross-examination of the woman, that court said.

In a judgment on behalf of a three-judge Court of Appeal overturning that decision, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan ordered the prosecution of the man be stayed unless the complainant discloses the identities of the two alleged perpetrators during her childhood.

If it is disclosed within three months of his judgment, the stay will be lifted and the trial can proceed.

However, if not, the stay will become permanent, he said.

Earlier, he said if the man's case is to be believed, he was facing a false allegation which had the potential to ruin his life.   "Few things in life are more unpleasant than having to face the false allegation", he said.

He also said the Supreme Court had repeatedly stressed the critical importance of the right to cross-examine a witness and "essentially no greater truth-eliciting process has ever been devised".

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