Youth faces trial on charges of sex with 14-year-old
A YOUTH is to face Circuit Court trial for repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her, a judge has ordered.
It is alleged that the girl was abused by six youths, whose ages range from 17 to 19, on four dates in March and February 2010, at three locations in Co Kildare.
Two of the youths, aged 17, who had first been charged in October, appeared again at the Dublin Children's Court yesterday for a hearing to the determine the venue for their trials.
However, Judge Clare Leonard could not deal with one of the cases because the accused had come to court unaccompanied by either a parent or guardian. He was remanded on continuing bail to appear again next week.
After noting a synopsis of the allegations furnished to her by prosecuting Garda Paul Carney, the judge held that the second youth would not be tried in the juvenile court.
She refused jurisdiction, meaning that his case is to be transferred to the Circuit Court, which has wider sentencing powers.
"They are very serious offences, I do not think under anyone's interpretation that it could be looked on as minor," said the judge.
The boy, who was accompanied to his case by his mother, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in January, when he is to be served with a book of evidence.
The defence had appealed to the judge to accept jurisdiction, saying the defendant, who is a student, claimed he had not known the girl's true age at the time and thought she was older.
He is the youngest defendant in the case and was aged 16 when the alleged incidents occurred. He faces four counts of sexual assault of the girl as well as two counts of having sex with her at his home address and at another location on two dates in March 2010.
Counsel for the boy asked Judge Leonard to note that he had not been in trouble with the authorities before or since. The defence submitted that the teenager had co-operated with the investigating garda and that there was "an element of experimentation involved".
Garda Carney disagreed with the defence that the allegations came to light following a discovery by the boy's mother. He said it emerged after the girl confided in a friend of hers.
The defence argued that keeping the teenager's case in the Children's Court would give him the protection afforded to juveniles, as well as a speedier trial and less media publicity.
However, the judge refused.
Four other youths are to appear in Dublin District Court next month to be served with a book of evidence.