13 Aug 2022

Teen accused of sexually assaulting another boy challenges decision to send him forward for trial

Teen accused of sexually assaulting another boy challenges decision to send him forward for trial

A male teenager accused of sexually assaulting another boy has brought a High Court challenge aimed at quashing the District Court judge's decision to send his case forward for trial. 

The teen bringing challenge is charged with sexually assaulting another male in the bathroom of the school they had previously attended.  The incident is alleged to have occurred in April 2018.

The accused is also facing a charge, that contrary to the 1990 Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, that during the course of the assault he allegedly produced an implement capable of inflicting serious injury.  `

Both the accused and the complainant were just 12 years of age at the time of the alleged offences.  The parties cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Following a complaint and Garda investigation the accused was brought before the Children's Court and in October 2019, the District Judge refused jurisdiction and sent the boy forward for trial before the Circuit Criminal Court.

Arising out of that decision the teen has launched High Court proceedings where it is claimed that he was sent forward without being given the protection of a hearing under Section 75 of the 2001 Childrens Act.

Such a hearing, which is heard by a district court judge,  deals with issues including the accused minor's age and maturity, or any other relevant facts, and must be heard before any decision is made to send the accused minor forward for trial.

The section also allows a district court judge to deal summarily with a child charged with an indicatable offence, other than an offence required to be tried before the Central Criminal Court.

The teen claims that the section 75 hearing should have occurred before he was sent forward, and as a result has been denied the legislative protection available to him under this particular section.

In judicial review proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions the accused teen, who is suing through his mother, seeks an order quashing the District Court's decision in October 2019 to return him for trial before the Circuit Criminal Court.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday, who on an ex-parte basis granted the accused permission to bring his challenge.

The matter will return before the High Court in May.

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