Man accused of raping siblings claims he cannot get a fair trial

Man accused of raping siblings claims he cannot get a fair trial

A man accused of raping and sexually assaulting two of his younger siblings over 20 years ago has brought a High Court action aimed at halting his prosecution. 

The man who is aged in his late thirties claims he cannot get a fair trial in respect of events that are alleged to have occurred in the late 1990s when he was aged between 13 and 15 years of age. 

The complainants are his sister and brother, who made statements concerning the allegations against their brother to the Gardai in 2017.  

The DPP initially declined to prosecute the man for the alleged offences.

However, this decision was reversed and late last year charges were brought against the man, who is now facing a trial before the Central Criminal Court.  

In his High Court action, the man, represented by Lorcan Staines SC, claims that there are several reasons why he is at risk of receiving an unfair trial.

These include that the relevant law at the time of when the alleged offences are said to have occurred was that a child aged between 7 and 14 years was incapable of committing a criminal offence.  

Two of the charges are alleged to have occurred when the accused was between the age of 13-14 years.

The other two charges are said to have occurred when the accused was aged 15 years, but due to the passage of time the date on which these offences are said to have occurred lack clear date specificity, he claims.

This leaves open the possibility that he could have been under 14 at the time when the alleged offences occurred, it is claimed.   

In his action against the Director of Public Prosecutions, the man seeks an order prohibiting his further criminal prosecution on the four charges he is facing. 

He also seeks various declarations including that the delay in bringing the criminal case against the man has prejudiced him, and that in these particular circumstances it would be unfair and unjust to put the accused on trial. 

He further seeks declarations that allowing the trial to proceed would be in breach of his rights under the Irish Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights. 

Permission to bring the action was granted on an ex parte basis by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan on Monday. 

The judge, who put a stay on the prosecution from proceeding pending a further order from the court, adjourned the matter to a date in June.   

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