Tuesday 11 December 2018

Shop owner to face retrial after being convicted of sexually assaulting girl

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A shop owner who successfully appealed his conviction for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl sent to the shop by her mother to buy a household item, is set to face a retrial.

The 63-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court to a single count of sexually assaulting the 13-year-old girl in the shop he owned in May 2012.

He was found guilty by a jury and was given a wholly suspended three-year sentence by Judge Michael O'Shea on October 22, 2015.

The man successfully appealed his conviction on grounds that his trial was unfair by reason of a ruling from the trial judge relating to the showing of CCTV footage from the shop in which the alleged offence was said to have been committed.

While the CCTV footage was played to the jury, it was, in accordance with the trial judge's ruling, played to the jury only after the complainant's direct evidence and cross-examination had been completed.

The Court of Appeal directed a retrial today on foot of an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Justice Michael Peart, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the reason for setting aside the conviction was capable of being remedied on a retrial and there was no basis for refusing the DPP's request.

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