Charged for having first book banned in decades

Gardaí are prosecuting a 40-year-old west Clare man for the possession of the first book to be banned here in nearly two decades.

Earlier this year, The Raped Little Runaway by Jean Martin and published by Star Distributors Ltd became the first book to be banned by the Irish Censorship of Publications Board since 1998.

The board found that the book — which contains multiple descriptions of child rape — to be ‘indecent’ and ‘obscene’.

In the case before Kilrush District Court yesterday, the accused is also being prosecuted for the sexual assault of a boy aged under 10 more than a decade ago at the accused’s home.

The Censorship of Publications Board voted to prohibit The Raped Little Runaway at a meeting on March 1 this year. Its decision prohibited the sale and distribution of the book in the State.

At the time, board chairman Shane McCarthy said the decision was unanimous among five board members. “It was the only resort… The collective view of the board was that it was a vile publication as it contained graphic descriptions of the rape of a minor,” he said.

In the case before the district court yesterday, the west Clare man was charged with knowingly having in his possession child pornography — The Raped Little Runaway — at his home on November 28 of last year — four months before the book was banned by the censors.

The man is charged under section 6 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act. If found guilty of the illegal possession of The Raped Little Runaway in the district court, the man faces a jail term up to one year and if the case is heard in the circuit court, the man faces a prison term up to five years on conviction.

The man also faces two counts of the sexual assault of a boy aged under 10 at the time at the accused’s home on dates between January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2004.

The alleged victim is related to the accused. If convicted of the sexual assault charge, the accused in the circuit court faces a prison term up to five years.

When the man’s name was called out in court yesterday, there was no appearance by the accused.

Judge Patrick Durcan issued a bench warrant for the man’s arrest and ordered that the names of the accused and the alleged victim not be reported due to the nature of the charge.

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