Court Clears Way For Priest’s Indecent Assault Trial

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the DPP to try a 70-year-old priest on charges of indecently assaulting a teenage girl in the north-east in the early 1980s. It overturned a ruling by the High Court which stated that the prosecutorial delays were inexcusable.

The now 70-year-old first learned of the complaints in 1995. He was charged with three counts of indecently assaulting a teenage girl between July 1981 and August 1982 in the north-east of the country. She was aged between 15 and 16 at the time of the alleged offences.

The man denied the charges at all times to Gardai. He went on trial, but it collapsed. He took judicial review action in the High Court and in 2003 and it found that the delays by the prosecution had been inordinate and inexcusable and restrained his trial.

The DPP appealed this and today the Supreme Court overturned the decision saying there was no evidence that the man had suffered excessive pre-trial anxiety. It said the man had not established that his trial should be prevented.