Retired teacher denies sexually assaulting nine-year-old schoolboy

A retired primary school teacher charged with sexually assaulting a nine-year-old schoolboy eight times in the early 1990s denied the charges yesterday and a jury was sworn in for his trial.

Leo Hickey, aged 77, of Realt Na Mara, Skevanish, Innishannon, Co Cork, was arraigned yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where he pleaded not guilty to all eight charges of sexual assault.

A jury of five men and seven women was sworn in to hear the case against him.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin told them that because of other trials taking place at Cork Circuit Criminal Court it would not be possible to commence the trial until tomorrow and that they should return to the courthouse then.

Judge Ó Donnabháin warned them not to discuss the case with anybody outside of the jury.

The judge said, “You are sworn as a jury. You don’t know what the case is about, you have heard no evidence. You cannot speak to anyone about the case. You must decide the case on what you hear in the court.

“Ireland is full of people who have opinions. If you say what you are going to do they will give you their opinion and you risk being contaminated by their views.”

Leo Hickey pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sexual assault allegedly committed between November 1991 and June 1992 at Scoil Eoin Boys’ National School in Ballincollig, Co Cork.

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