Tuesday 19 June 2018

Teen (17) accused of sexually assaulting girl (6) to go on trial

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Tom Tuite

A teenage boy accused of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl will face trial in May, a judge has ordered.

The 17-year-old boy appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court on two counts of sexual assault and one charge for attempted sexual assault. Today, Judge John O’Connor ordered the trial would take place on a date in May.

However, the Children’s Court trial will be moved to a different venue, the Criminal Courts of Justice, due to the requirement of facilities for hearing evidence via video-link. The youth, who denies the charges, was accompanied to court by a parent and his barrister.

He was remanded on continuing bail pending the trial which had been delayed to allow for disclosure of prosecution evidence to be finalised.

The incidents are alleged to have happened in north Dublin in 2016 after which specialist interviews with the girl were conducted as part of the investigation.

Earlier the court heard the boy made no reply when he was charged in January this year after he, in the presence of his mother, met gardai by arrangement.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended that the case was suitable to be dealt with in the juvenile court rather than in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

An outline of the allegations was given during a preliminary hearing for the purpose of making a ruling on the teen’s trial venue.

Garda Catherine McEvoy had told the court that in 2016 a couple made a report to gardai that their daughter had disclosed that she had been inappropriately touched.

It was alleged that, “the disclosure came out when the family were away on holiday".

The court heard the girl also told her mother that she had seen the teenager’s penis because his trousers had fallen down. It was also alleged he touched her backside five times, with her trousers up and down, and that he tried to touch her vagina area but she did not let him, the court was told.

The girl would have been aged six at the time, the garda said.

Their families were known to each other and the incidents allegedly occurred at the teen's home.

The boy, who was accompanied to hearing by his mother, has not yet indicated how he will plead. He was aged 15 at the time of the allegations.

Jurisdiction was accepted for the case to be dealt with at Children’s Court level. Additional disclosure of specialist interviews held with the girl was sought by his lawyers.

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