A 41-year-old man facing a trial for rape, sexual exploitation, and defilement of a girl under the age of 17 pleaded guilty to one charge and was remanded in custody yesterday.
The accused appeared before the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork yesterday where a jury was to be sworn in for a trial.
However, the jury panel that assembled yesterday morning was sent away before lunchtime to return at 2pm and shortly after that the accused was arraigned on just one count.
He pleaded guilty to that charge of defilement where he engaged in sexual intercourse with a child who was under the age of 17 in February 2015 at a location in Cork.
Applying for the accused to be released on continuing bail pending sentence next month, Blaise O’Carroll, defending, said the accused had no previous convictions of any description, and that he pleaded guilty to the charge even though the complainant was six days short of her 17th birthday. He said the plea of guilty meant that the evidence of a full trial did not have to be made public.
Alice Fawsitt, prosecuting, said the DPP accepted the guilty plea to the single count and she said the prosecution was applying to have the defendant remanded in custody.
“In respect of the offence there was a considerable amount of alcohol consumed and to a certain extent supplied by the defendant prior to the incident giving rise to the offence. There should be a remand in custody,” Ms Fawsitt said.
Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said: “I have considered the matter. I am of the view that he has pleaded guilty to a serious charge. I do have concerns. His presumption of innocence no longer exists. I am of the view that having pleaded to a serious offence at this late stage in proceedings he should be remanded in custody and I will do that.”
Sentencing was adjourned until July 26. A victim impact report is to be prepared. The judge also directed the preparation of a probation report on the accused. His name was to be put on the sex offenders register immediately.
Ms Justice Donnelly thanked those who responded to their jury summons to be available in court yesterday to be empanelled for a trial. She explained the fundamental role played by jurors even when a trial did not go ahead and she apologised to them for the long delay they experienced in court yesterday.
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