Priest awarded €8.5k for abuse of human rights

The European Court of Human Rights has awarded damages of €8,500 to a Dublin priest who was acquitted in 2010 of charges of sexually assaulting a teenager after it ruled his human rights had been violated by the excessive length in bringing the case to trial.

The ECHR has ordered the Government to pay the damages to Fr Maeliosa Ó Haullacháin after his legal team successfully argued that the 13 years and seven months taken to conclude proceedings against him represented a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Fr O Haullacháin sought damages of €100,000 from the state and €48,000 in legal fees.

However, the ECHR awarded him just €8,500 in damages and €3,500 in legal costs.

Fr Ó Haullacháin of Seafield Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecent assault on a Co Louth teenager between July 1981 and August 1982 when she was aged 13-14.

It is the third case in recent years in which the Strasbourg-based court has found Ireland to have violated a person’s human rights on grounds of length of proceedings in taking a criminal prosecution against an individual.


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