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application rejected Child molester facing 270 further charges fails to stop trials

The High Court yesterday rejected applications by the elderly man for orders prohibiting two future trials for historical abuse of minors.

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Stock image: Court

Stock image: Court

Stock image: Court

A MAN convicted of molesting children has failed in a bid to halt further trials where he is facing 270 charges of child sexual abuse.

The High Court yesterday rejected applications by the elderly man for orders prohibiting two future trials for historical abuse of minors.

In one case he is facing 99 charges involving three complainants spanning from 1983 to 1993. Another case involves three other complainants and 171 charges, dating between 1978 and 1988.

The man was previously prosecuted, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a lengthy term in prison.

For legal reasons he cannot be identified in connection with his application to prohibit further trials.

The man sought the prohibitions on the grounds of delay, both by complainants in making formal statements and by prosecutors in bringing charges against him.

He claimed he was investigated in 1979, 1987 and 1997 and if these inquiries had been properly conducted, the current prosecutions might have been brought much earlier.

The man's legal team argued that because of the delay and the passage of time, it was impossible for him to establish "islands of fact" in order to defend himself.

They said the alleged offences were not time, date or location specific.

His lawyers also claimed he was prejudiced by the death of several witnesses and the fact one potential witness was suffering from dementia.

Although he previously pleaded guilty to some charges, he denied offending from 1987.

Lawyers for the DPP argued there were no wholly exceptional circumstances giving rise to a need to prohibit the trials.

They said a trial judge would be best placed to deal with the man's complaints and concerns about missing witnesses and documents amounted to speculation.

They said complainants had difficulty in coming forward and that criminal prosecutions could only be advanced with formal statements of complaint.

After considering case law and the nature of the offences, Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan said she was satisfied that even if there was prosecutorial delay, the man had not established that there was a risk he would not obtain a fair trial.

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