Saturday 16 December 2017

Teen faces trial for 'sex assault and exploitation' of young girl in Temple Bar alleyway

Parliament Row, Temple Bar, Dublin
Parliament Row, Temple Bar, Dublin

Tom Tuite

A teenage boy has been charged with sexually assaulting and exploiting a young girl in an alley-way in Dublin's Temple Bar.

The boy (16) was arrested at his home in Dublin on Tuesday morning and taken to Pearse Garda station in the city-centre to be charged under section two of Criminal Law Rape Act with sexual assault of the girl and also with sexually exploiting her contrary to Section Three of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.

The incident is alleged to have occurred at Parliament Row, an alley in Dublin's Temple Bar on Apr. 11 last year. The boy was aged 15 at the time of the alleged incident while it is understood the girl was in her early teens.

He was granted bail with strict conditions and will face his next hearing at Dublin Children's Court in June.

Garda Niall Murray gave details of the arrest. He told Judge John O'Connor that when the boy was charged with sexual assault he stated: “I never touched that young one” and he said “No reply” when the the second charge was put to him.

Gda Murray said the DPP has recommended that the boy should face trial on indictment; this means the case should go to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. However, a final decision has yet to be made on the trial venue issue.

Gda Murray objected to bail. He said that during the car journey from the boy's house to Pearse Street Garda station he explained the procedures to the teen. He said the boy turned around and said: “I will not be in Dublin much longer, I'm going to get out of here and am never coming back, I don't care about that court case”.

Defence solicitor Aonghus McCarthy said the boy admitted making that comment but it was done out of disrespect and bravado rather than as a genuine threat. Gda Murray said the boy spoke slowly and calmly in a mono-toned voice when he said it but he agreed that the teen had lived all his life with his family at his current address.

Mr McCarthy asked the court to note the boy did not have the means to go anywhere and was “adamant he was not involved in this” and his comment was bravado.

Judge O'Connor granted bail but ordered the boy to surrender his passport, to obey a 11pm to 7am curfew at his home and not have any contact directly or indirectly with the girl. He also has to stay out of Dublin city-centre.

The teen spoke briefly saying he did not understood the condition about indirect contact with the complainant at which the judge explained it to him. He also had his curfew hours changed after explaining to his solicitor that he goes to a sports club.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, cannot be identified because he is a minor. He has not yet formally entered a plea.

Free legal aid was granted and the judge directed disclosure of prosecution evidence to the defence ahead of the next hearing which will decide the boy's trial venue.

Despite the DPP's recommendation the juvenile court has discretion to accept jurisdiction for a serious case by taking into consideration the defendant's age and level of maturity as well as other relevant factors.

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