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Solicitor returns to face college sex assault trial

A SPANISH solicitor facing a charge of sexually assaulting a woman at a Dublin college five years ago has returned to Ireland after an extradition warrant was issued.

Emillio Rodriguez (28) was remanded in custody when he appeared in Dublin District Court charged with one count of sexual assault on the woman at the National College of Ireland in the International Financial Services Centre.

Judge Timothy Lucey refused to grant bail but said he would consider it again next week, when a book of evidence is served.

The prosecuting garda told the court she was objecting to bail, saying the accused had left Ireland shortly after the alleged incident and it had taken several years to locate him. He had no ties in Ireland and she believed he was a flight risk.

Rodrguez had been arrested and questioned in 2005, was released without charge and was never informed that he had to stay here, his solicitor Brian McKenzie said.

"He was free to go, he has always maintained his innocence and has no history of warrants," Mr McKenzie said. "He was under no legal obligation to remain in the State.

"He volunteered himself to the Spanish authorities when he became aware that there was an extradition warrant for him."

The garda said Rodriguez had been notified about the warrant six months ago while he was staying in a hotel and he had handed himself in to Spanish authorities two weeks ago. He had been in custody since April 12 and the garda travelled to Barcelona to escort him to Ireland but they had been unable to leave as planned and spent several days trying to get flights out because of the volcanic ash cloud.

The court heard Rodriguez was an in-house solicitor in a Spanish accountancy firm and that job was now effectively closed to him because he would have to remain in the State for up to a year awaiting trial.

He could stay with his cousin who was living in Ireland, while his sister had come here with him for the case.

The garda said a book of evidence was almost ready.

The DPP was directing trial on indictment. Judge Lucey remanded the accused in custody until May 5, for the service of the book of evidence and another bail application.