Saturday 24 February 2018

Teen (18) who denies sexually assaulting girl (14) in Dublin apartment while she slept to face trial

The Children's Court, Smithfield
The Children's Court, Smithfield

Tom Tuite

A youth, who denies sexually assaulting a young girl after she fell asleep, will face trial in December.

The 18-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of the girl, then aged 14, at an apartment in north Dublin on a date last year.

The youth was aged 17, a juvenile, at the time of the alleged incident and was due to go on trial earlier this month at the Dublin Children’s Court.

However, Judge John O’Connor acceded to a request by the State to vacate the trial date on the grounds that the complainant and two other witnesses wish to give evidence via video-link, a facility which has not been installed at the Children’s Court building in Smithfield in Dublin city-centre.

The case was re-listed again for mention and a new date for the hearing was set.

The Children’s Court will hear the trial at the Criminal Courts of Justice building in December instead.

The teenager had been arrested in a midlands town and charged in April.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that the case could be dealt with at Children’s Court level and not in the Circuit Court, which can impose lengthier sentences.

Detective Garda Michael Harkin had said earlier that it was alleged the girl’s sister was in a relationship with a member of the youth’s family. It was alleged the girl fell asleep on a couch in the apartment and the youth attempted to penetrate her digitally but she woke up and pushed him away.

It was reported immediately to gardai and the girl was taken to a sexual assault treatment unit for an examination. The court heard she has been left very traumatised.

Judge O'Connor has accepted jurisdiction for the case to remain in the juvenile court.

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