Judge to issue written judgement on application which raises 'significant issues' around anonymnity in rape cases

Judge to issue written judgement on application which raises 'significant issues' around anonymnity in rape cases

A High Court judge has said he will deliver a written judgment when he rules on an application by a rape victim to waive her anonymity.

Last March a jury convicted a 41-year-old Wicklow man of repeated sexual attacks on a neighbouring child when she was aged approximately nine.

The man had pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault in Co Wicklow on unknown dates between 1987 and 1989. Mr Justice Michael White, sitting at the Central Criminal Court, imposed a seven-year sentence last month.

At that time he continued an order, made during the trial, preventing the publication of the identity of both parties. He said he made this order at the request of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Lawyers for the DPP subsequently brought the case back before Mr Justice White and told the court that the woman now wished to waive her anonymity, so her abuser could be named.

Paul Murray SC told the court the DPP was now applying for the court to lift the order preventing publication of the names of the parties.

Defence counsel Colman Fitzgerald SC told the court that his client wished to challenge the application. He said there is no basis in law for the anonymity of complainants to be set aside.

He said that it was an offence for anyone to publish the identity of a rape complainant and there was nothing in the law that permits a complainant to discard this prohibition.

Justice White said the application had raised significant issues for the court and significant issues as to whether judges should be saying something during the course of these trials.

He noted that he had received written submissions from both the DPP and defence. He said he now intends to give a written judgment on July 11 but said as his court is very busy at the moment he may not be in a position to do this.

The matter was adjourned to July 11.

The man first raped his victim during a game of hide-and-seek when she was aged approximately nine years old and he was 17 years old. He raped the girl three more times during that summer and told her not to tell anyone as it was “their secret”.

The victim came forward to make a statement in 2013 and there were a number of trials which collapsed before the man was convicted.

- Additional reporting by Fiona Ferguson

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