Court rejects Christian Brother's appeal to prevent trial

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the trial of a former Christian Brother who is accused of multiple sexual offences dating back to 1961.

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the trial of a former Christian Brother who is accused of multiple sexual offences dating back to 1961.

The man had failed in the High Court to prevent his trial going ahead and had appealed the High Court decision to the Supreme Court.

But today, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, presiding at a three-judge court, said that there was no reason why the trial of the former Christian Brother who worked at the Artane Industrial School should not go ahead.

The man faces eight allegations of buggery, sixty three of indecent assault and one charge of attempted buggery. The allegations date back to 1961 and the latest allegation relates to 1969.

Mr Justice Hardiman said that what an applicant must establish in cases of delay is the real risk (as opposed to the demonstrated certainty or probability) of an unfair trial.

He said that although the periods of delay in the case were very long, there were certain features which tended to mitigate their effect.

The judge said that the former Christian Brother gave extensive interviews to the gardaí which demonstrated that his memory is functioning and accurate and that he "shows quite a marked instinct for precision".

In the course of these interviews the man made a number of admissions and Mr Justice Hardiman said that the admissions appeared to be a significant factor in the case.

"In the present case, the admisisons do not appear to have been denied or glossed in any way, so that it seems reasonable to take them at face value," he said.

"It would, in my opinion, be extraordinary to prohibit a trial in circumstances where the defendant admits a significant amount of behaviour of a criminal nature."

The judge said that he did not consider that the demands of justice or the requirement of a fair trial required that the DPP should be prevented from prosecuting any of the charges against the man.

"I hope it is clear from what is said above that the long lapse of time has the potential to cause great injustice and that this is a matter calling for the serious attention of the courts when the judicial review

jurisdiction is invoked. I also wish to make it clear that this is a case of undisputed admissions and cannot be regarded as a useful precedent in circumstances where alleged admissions are hotly disputed and not independently verified," the judge added.

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