assault charges | 

Ex-Dublin school principal sent for trial accused of sexually abusing 21 pupils

The former teacher, who later became a principal, worked at the school from 1967 until 2008.

Patrick Harte

Tom TuiteSunday World

A RETIRED Dublin school principal, accused of sexual abuse of 21 former pupils, has been served with a book of evidence and sent forward for trial.

Gardai charged Patrick Harte, 80, in May with 83 indecent assaults, one attempted indecent assault and six sexual assaults from 1967 to 1995.

It followed an investigation by the Divisional Protective Services Unit at Kevin Street Garda station. The alleged offences involved pupils at Sancta Maria Christian Brothers primary school on Synge Street, Dublin.

The former teacher, who later became a principal, worked at the school from 1967 until 2008.

He denies the allegations and appeared again at Dublin District Court today when Detective Garda Colleen Gallagher served him with a book of evidence.

State solicitor Brian Coveney told Judge Treasa Kelly the Director of Public Prosecutions consented to trial on indictment.

Judge Kelly told him that he was being returned for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where he will face his next appearance on November 11.

The pensioner, who was granted legal aid, spoke once to confirm he understood the order.

The judge warned him to notify the prosecution within 14 days if he intended to rely on alibi evidence in his defence.

He remains on €30,000 bail with conditions which include signing on three days a week at his local garda station. The judge refused a defence application to reduce that requirement to once weekly.

She directed gardai to provide copies of the interview videos to the defence while typed versions were handed over in court.

Sligo-born Mr Harte, with an address at Glendown Park, Templeogue, was also ordered to obey strict terms and had to provide cash lodgements and surrender his passport earlier.

Detective Garda Colleen Gallagher voiced "flight-risk" concerns at a previous bail hearing. She had said the "allegations are similar in nature"; however, the injured parties were "unknown to each other".

The officer said the allegations indicated "prolonged, systematic abuse", but she added that Mr Harte denied all the allegations when gardai put them to him.

Today, she objected to Mr Harte's request to change the signing on condition.

Defence counsel John Griffin told the court having to go to the garda station three days each week interfered with his client's medical appointments.

He argued that the condition was disproportionate and pointed out that his client's trial may not get underway until 2025.

However, in view of the garda objection, Judge Kelly refused the defence application at this point.

But she added that a further application could be made as time goes on.

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