A judge has ordered a sex offender to go into 24-hour ‘lock-down’ at his grandparents’ home until he sentences him in over two weeks time.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Brian O’Callaghan told the 22-year-old Co Clare man to remain in isolation following his return from France until the re-staging of his sentencing hearing later this month.
The Clare man sexually assaulted a girl over five years ago after the two made contact through Snapchat and he now returned here for sentencing from France.
The man was due to be sentenced over two months ago on April 28.
The now-retired Judge Gerald Keys had a written judgement prepared for April 28 after a sentencing hearing was held into the case in February.
However, Judge Keys wasn’t able to impose sentence after the man failed to turn up for his sentencing as he was on Covid 19 ‘lockdown’ in France.
The man is now to be sentenced by Judge O'Callaghan following Judge Keys' retirement in May.
Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL told Judge O’Callaghan that the Covid 19 pandemic crisis intervened in the case and the accused was not in a position to return home from France.
Mr Connolly stated that there has been “rolling uncertainty” as a result but that the accused has now returned to Ireland.
Judge O’Callaghan directed that the man sit in a seat at the back of the courtroom with no one to be seated near him in keeping with Covid 19 safety protocols.
Judge O’Callaghan stated: “This man should be in isolation. He shouldn’t be here.” Judge O’Callaghan added: “My initial view is that this matter should be adjourned for a minimum of two weeks with the accused being remanded in custody.” Judge O’Callaghan stated that the accused “could have been back in Ireland at least three weeks ago if the intention was there with dealing with matters”.
The judge stated that after making inquiries with the Irish Prison Service (IPS), a remand in custody for the accused would place a further burden on the system and he stated that he didn’t believe that to be inappropriate.
He stated: “This accused has caused enough bother without creating further bother.” Judge O’Callaghan ordered that the accused be put on full 24 lockdown at his grand-parents’ home.
Judge O’Callaghan also ordered that the accused surrender his passport.
The judge told the complainant’s parents who were in court “this matter is being dealt with expeditiously.” Judge O’Callaghan remanded the accused on bail to re-appear before court for sentence on July 21.
In the case, the accused – now aged 22 but aged 17 at the time - has pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault against the female between October 24 2014 and April 2015.
The two – who come from the same part of Co Clare and went to the same secondary school at the time - made direct contact initially anonymously through Snapchat and then met in person shortly after.
The complainant in the case is now aged 17 and was aged 12 when the first sexual assault occurred.
One of the counts of sexual assault took place in the grounds of a local primary school.