Saturday 16 December 2017

Teen boy charged with sexual assault launches court bid to stop trial going ahead

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Aodhan O'Faolain

A teenager, who has been charged with sexually assaulting a young girl, has launched a High Court action aimed at preventing his trial from going ahead, claiming that a delay in prosecuting the case has left him at serious risk of not getting a fair trial.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been sent forward for trial before the Circuit Criminal Court arising out of an alleged incident in Co Kildare in 2014.  He was 15 years of age at the time of the alleged assault but has since turned 18.

Roderick O'Hanlon SC, who appeared in court for the teenager, claimed the delay by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in prosecuting the case until the boy had reached the age of majority, constituted an abuse of process.

"He will no longer benefit from provisions of the Children’s Act that he should have been entitled to and all because of the delay," Mr O’Hanlon told Mr Justice Seamus Noon.

Mr O’Hanlon said the challenge to the alleged mishandling of the prosecution was also being brought on grounds that there was a failure to preserve forensic samples given voluntarily to the Gardai by the accused.

He said there was a further failure to seek out other information that would have a bearing on the boy’s innocence or guilt including taking statements from persons who were at the location of the alleged offence at the relevant time.

The court heard that because of sustained abuse, threats and intimidation the teenager had left his home area.  In his proceedings against the DPP he seeks an order prohibiting his trial from going any further.

The teen also seeks declarations that his right to be tried with due expedition has been breached and that the decision to prosecute him after he had reached the age of majority constitutes an abuse of process.  Judge Noonan granted leave to bring the action and adjourned the matter until the new law term in October. 

Online Editors

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