A 70-year-old man appeared at last week’s sitting of the Portlaoise District Court charged with 15 counts of sexual assault.
The alleged offences occurred in Kildare between January 2011 and September 2011. The man cannot be named, as both his solicitor and the State requested reporting restrictions to protect the identity of the injured party.
A garda detective who charged the man at Kildare Garda Station told the court that after each charge the man had nothing to say in response.
Further evidence was given by another arresting garda, who said that after charging the man he replied: “I’ve nothing to say except what I’ve already said - I didn’t do anything to her.”
There were no garda objections to bail, but strict bail conditions were imposed.
The accused must have no contact with the injured party or the injured party’s family. He must sign on one day a week, Wednesday, at the local garda station between 9am and 9pm. A further condition was that the man had to surrender his passport.
Defence solicitor, Mr Cairbre Pinan told the court that his client did not have his passport in court, but he could get the item.
“I can’t release him on bail until he does,” said Judge Catherine Staines.
An arrangement was then made for the gardaí to collect the man’s passport from his home. The man was released on bail pending the compilation of a book of evidence. He will be sent forward for trial at a future sitting of the circuit court.
A request was made by defence for legal aid on this matter. Mr Pinan said that the accused is a retired widower who owns his house and has no mortgage. He said the house was worth about €80,000.
Judge Staines said she wanted a valuation on the house from an auctioneer before deciding on legal aid.
“These are serious offences, but I have to consider legal aid, many people are paying tax on mortgages,” said the judge.
Mr Pinan replied that his client was facing a very serious charge in the circuit court.
“So a millionaire should get legal aid if they’re charged with sexual assault?” retorted the judge.
The matter has gone back to April 24 for the serving of a book of evidence.