Man accused of indecently assaulting teen female relative in 1980s begins bid to halt trial

Man accused of indecently assaulting teen female relative in 1980s begins bid to halt trial

A man accused of indecently assaulting a young female relative more than 30 years ago has launched a High Court challenge aimed at halting his trial.

The man who is aged in his seventies is due to be tried before the Circuit Criminal Court on five charges of indecently assaulting the complainant, who is the accused's cousin, at his home on dates during the early to mid-1980s.

The complainant was in her early teens and a secondary school student when the alleged offences are said to have occurred.

She claims that the man, who was aged in his thirties at the time of the alleged offences and lived close to the complainant's then family home, groomed and exploited her during her teens.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denies the allegations and in his High Court action claimshe cannot get a fair trial.

On Monday his counsel Micheal O Higgins SC said that the man was prejudiced by the lengthy passage of time between the making of the complaint to the Gardai in 2017, and when the alleged offences are said to have occurred some four decades ago.

Counsel said his client's ability to defend himself has also been prejudiced by the death of witnesses and lost evidence which he claims are important to his defence.

Counsel added that there was an exceptional delay in this case, which cannot be cured by the judge presiding over the criminal case.

Counsel also said that his client has not been brought to trial with reasonable expedition. The man has been returned for trial over two years after the complainant first made a complaint to the Gardai.

Counsel also said there is an absence of particular details, including the precise dates of the alleged offences, contained in the charges that compromise the man's ability to mount a defence.

In addition, counsel said his client's poor health, including his diagnosis of the onset of neurological impairment affecting his memory, was such that give rise to concerns that he cannot get a fair trial.

In the circumstances, his client has brought High Court proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions, seeking orders quashing the decision to send him forward to trial and the indictment against him.

He also seeks declarations including that his continued prosecution for the offences amounts to a breach of his constitutional rights and his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Charles Meenan.

The judge who put a stay on the prosecution from proceeding pending the outcome of the High Court action, adjourned the matter to a date in January.

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