Friday 16 November 2018

Student allegedly caught masturbating in public facing trial

Camal Elhaj (22) is charged with engaging in an act of masturbation in a public place
Pic: Collins Courts
Camal Elhaj (22) is charged with engaging in an act of masturbation in a public place Pic: Collins Courts

Tom Tuite

A STUDENT allegedly caught masturbating on Dublin’s Synge Street is facing trial.

Camal Elhaj, 22, from Sudan but who has an address at Harrington Street, Dublin 8 was accused of engaging in an act of masturbation in a public place on July 29 last year.

He appeared today at Dublin District Court on the charge which was contrary to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed that he could be tried in the district court where the offence carries a maximum six-month sentence.

In an outline of the allegations to decide if he would accept jurisdiction, Judge Conal Gibbons heard that the accused was allegedly caught by gardai at 1am on the date of the offence.

However, no members of the public were present.

Defence solicitor Michael French pleaded for the case to remain in the district court and asked the judge to note that members of the public had not been present at the time of the alleged incident.

He also submitted that the DPP had directed summary disposal meaning the district court was a suitable trial venue.

However, Judge Gibbons held that the case was too serious and should go before the circuit court, which can impose a sentence of up to two years for the offence.

He refused jurisdiction and remanded the accused to appear again in September for further directions from the DPP.

The accused did not address the court or indicate how he will plead.

Legal aid was granted at an earlier stage. There was no objection to bail.

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