Saturday 21 September 2019

Well-known entertainer charged with sexual assault

Stock photo
Stock photo
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A well-known entertainer has appeared in court charged with sexually assaulting a young man.

The accused (26) is alleged to have assaulted the man at a popular Dublin venue.

The case against him was adjourned after Judge John O'Leary banned reporting of his identity, at the request of the entertainer's lawyer.

He is accused of one count of sexual assault on the alleged victim on a date in December 2016.

When the case was called at Dublin District Court, the public were ordered to leave, as the proceedings were held in camera, but members of the accused's family were permitted to stay for the hearing.

The accused, dressed in a navy blue suit, with a light blue tie and white shirt, had been sitting at the back of the courtroom with family members but walked forward and sat in the dock when his case was called.

A Garda sergeant told Judge O'Leary evidence of the accused's arrest, charge and caution had been submitted to the court by certificate.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines said yesterday morning's proceedings would be a "very short matter".

Contesting

Garda Shane Behan said the directions of DPP were for summary disposal at district court level on a guilty plea only.

This means if the accused is contesting the charge, he will be sent forward for trial by judge and jury to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Disclosure of prosecution statements had been furnished to the defence yesterday morning, Gda Behan said.

The accused was already on bail from a Garda station and there was no objection to this continuing, with no conditions attached, he continued.

Judge O'Leary asked if there was any other application.

Garda Behan said the alleged victim was entitled to anonymity and asked for reporting restrictions prohibiting the publication of anything that might identify the alleged injured party.

Mr Staines asked for "similar" restrictions, to include the name and address of the accused and the location of the alleged offence.

A media representative said it was understood that alleged victims were entitled to anonymity but asked the court to explain the legal basis for extending this to restrict publication of the accused's name.

Judge O'Leary said there was provision for this in law.

A State solicitor said it was provided for in the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981, providing for the anonymity of complainants.

"The Garda is of the view that any of those details could potentially identify the (alleged) injured party," she said. Garda Behan told the court, "particularly the locus of the offence".

The judge made the reporting restriction order to cover naming the accused and adjourned the case, remanding him on continuing bail to appear in court again on October 9.

The accused remained silent throughout the brief hearing.

No details of the allegations against him were disclosed in court and he has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charge.

Irish Independent

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