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Trial of First Dates star postponed as celeb chef is 'bedridden'

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Daphney Sanasie
Daphney Sanasie

THE trial of RTE First Dates star Daphney Sanasie who is accused of harassing Dylan McGrath has been postponed because the celebrity chef is bedridden with chronic pain.

The 26-year-old model from South Africa, who has an address at Jamestown Road, in Dublin 8, is accused of harassing Dylan McGrath (39) at various locations in the State from Sept. 9 until Nov. 21 last year. The charge is contrary to Section 10 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

She is contesting the case and her Dublin District Court trial had been scheduled to take place on Sept. 30. The case was listed for mention on Friday to confirm availability of witnesses.

However, Judge Cormac Dunne heard that the prosecution was seeking an adjournment because Mr McGrath recently had serious surgery on his back and is not “in a fit way to come to court”.

There was no definitive date yet as to when he would be fit to come to the trial, a State solicitor said as she applied for an adjournment.

Dressed in a black hat and red dress, Ms Sanasie did not address the court.

However, defence counsel Rachel McGovern objected to the delay saying Ms Sanasie has completed her studies in Ireland and wishes to return to Cape Town.

Judge Dunne asked what the defendant would expect if she was ill, adding that “it is a two-way street”. He said the witness was ill and he was furnished with a report saying his mobility was impaired.

However, he also said the accused was entitled to a trial as early as possible.

Garda Colm Kelly told the court that he has seen the complainant and described him as “mostly bedridden”. Gda Kelly said that this was “due to the pain he is suffering when he is mobile”. He said he would check on Mr McGrath's progress ahead of the next hearing.

Judge Dunne adjourned the case until Oct. 28 when it will be listed for mention and for a new trial date to be set.

The court also heard the prosecution will call 10 witnesses while two people will give evidence for the defence.

The defence also made a fresh application for disclosure of evidence. Ms McGovern said her client's phone had been forensically analysed by an expert but the defence wanted independent analysis to be carried out.

Ms Sanaise's legal team had been provided with a Garda report on the analysis of phones. Ms McGovern said that “the dispute is in the content, we would like to have the phones forensically examined”.

The court deferred ruling on that issue.

At her previous hearing the court had heard that the DPP has directed summary disposal of the case meaning it is to stay in the district court and should not go forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

The offence, at district court level, can result in a fine and a maximum 12 month sentence.

The South African model was known as Federica Sanasie when she appeared on hit matchmaking TV series First Dates earlier this year.

McGrath – one of Ireland's best known chefs – was a proprietor of Mint in Ranelagh in Dublin which was awarded a coveted Michelin Star before opening the Rustic Stone Restaurant by Dylan McGrath on South Great George's Street in Dublin city-centre. He later became a judge on the Irish version of Masterchef which went on to be a massive hit.