A male teenager charged with sexually assaulting a schoolgirl has brought a High Court challenge aimed at halting his prosecution.
The teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claims his trial should be halted on grounds including that there has been an inexcusable delay of approximately three years in prosecuting him.
The charge against the male arises out of an incident that occurred in a public park in June 2019.
A teenage girl claims she was prevented from leaving a place by approximately eight teenage boys.
It is claimed that the individuals involved were all secondary school students in the same school as the girl.
She alleges one of the males told her to perform a sex act on another of those present.
She tried to leave but was prevented from doing so by the males, some of whom began touching her and got on top of her, she claims.
She couldn’t get them off her and agreed to kiss one of them so they would let her leave, she alleges.
The complainant alleges she was eventually allowed to leave when some of her friends arrived on the scene.
A complaint about the incident was made to gardaí in early 2020.
Following a Garda investigation, the male teenager was in May 2022 charged with an offence of sexual assault. He has been sent forward by the District Court where he will face trial before the Circuit Criminal Court.
She claims the accused put his hands under her shirt, over her clothes and over her body during the alleged 2019 event.
In his High Court action against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the teen claims he was entitled to a speedy trial, given the alleged offence is said to have occurred when he was 15 years of age and a minor.
The delay in prosecuting the boy before his 18th birthday, it is claimed, means he will be tried as an adult.
It is submitted this could and should have been avoided.
Due to the delay in charging him, he has lost the protections included in the 2001 Children Act including his right to be tried convicted and sentenced as a child, he claims.
The excessive delay is alleged to have denied him of his right to a fair trial, in breach of his constitutional rights, as well as his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights,
In his action, the teen, represented by Mícheál P O’Higgins SC, seeks an order restraining his continued prosecution for an offence of sexual assault contrary to section 2 of the 1990 Criminal Law (Rape) Act, as amended by section 37 of the 2001 Sex Offenders Act.
He also wants the court to declare that there has been blameworthy prosecutorial delay on the part of the DPP, that there has been a breach of his constitutional and ECHR rights to an expeditious trial, and that he has been unfairly deprived of safeguards under the 2001 Children Act.
Damages for the alleged breaches of his rights are also sought.
While only the plaintiff was represented in court, Mr Justice Charles Meenan gave him permission to pursue his judicial review.
The matter will return to the High Court in February.