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abuse allegations Man to stand trial accused of sexually abusing a young child over 30 years ago

The man claimed that due to the prosecutorial delay he would not get a fair trial

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The High Court has cleared the way for the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a then young child over 30 years ago to proceed.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had sought orders preventing his trial before the Circuit Criminal Court, where he faces 18 charges of indecent assault from proceeding.

The man, who denies the allegations, claimed that due to a prosecutorial delay, he would not get a fair trial before a judge and jury.

In a judgement Mr Justice Garett Simons dismissed the man's action.

This was not one of those exceptional cases where there is cogent evidence demonstrating the real risk of an unfair trial such as to justify an order of prohibition being made by the High Court in judicial review proceedings, the judge held.

The man is accused of indecently assaulting a female, on dates during the 1980s, when she was 3 to 4 years of age.

The accused was aged in his teens, and was himself a minor, at the time of the alleged offences.

The allegations have been made by a now adult woman, who at the relevant times, was being looked after by a relative of the accused.

The complainant had made allegations about him to the Garda in 2016. The accused made a statement to the Gardai in 2018 about the allegations.

The man's application, was opposed by the DPP.

He had argued that there was a delay in bringing his case to trial.

He claimed that the matters complained of were made known to the complainant's parents in the mid-1980s, and that they were referred to the sexual assault treatment unit of a hospital.

In his decision the Judge said that the court was asked to infer that the allegations were brought to the attention of the Gardai at this time.

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The accused man had claimed that while there was no direct evidence the Gardai knew about this complaint in the 1980s, it was submitted that a reasonable inference could be drawn to this effect.

Other allegations around the same time against the accused, relating to another child, had been referred to the Garda.

The judge said if a complaint by the complainant's parents had been made to the Gardai in the 1980s, then there would have been blameworthy prosecutorial delay, and grounds for staying any trial decades later.

However, the court was not satisfied that on the balance of probability that the accused had established that the Garda ever received such a complaint.

It did not flow that because a complaint from other parties were made in and around the same time that another one was made in respect of the complainant in this case.

In the circumstances the judge presiding over the man's criminal trial would be best placed to determine any issue of prosecutorial delay, Mr Justice Simons added.

In the circumstances the judge was satisfied to dismiss the man's action and cleared the way for the accused's trial to proceed.

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