Three men walk free after State abandons sexual exploitation case
Defilement case involving 16-year-old girl will not proceed after State opts not to prosecute
Books of evidence in the case were served in 2016 and the cases have been adjourned a number of times since at Ennis Circuit Court
The State will not be proceeding with charges against three men in their 40s in a sex exploitation and defilement case concerning a 16-year old Co Clare girl.
At Ennis Circuit Court, solicitor for the State Aisling Casey said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was entering a nolle prosequi in all three cases.
The DPP entering the nolle prosequi means that the director will not be proceeding with the case and that all three men are discharged from the case with their innocence intact.
In the case, a 48-year-old Co Clare man was facing six charges of the defilement and two charges of the sexual exploitation of the 16 year old.
The man was accused of engaging in a sexual act with the teenager on six occasions at locations in Clare including two private residences and a business premises in 2014.
The man also faced two sexual exploitation charges that alleged the man engaged in oral sex with the girl on two separate occasions at a woods and a lake in 2014.
Those charges are contrary to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.
A second former accused in the case, a 45-year-old Dubliner, was facing charges of defilement against the same then 16-year-old girl on two occasions at hotels in Limerick and Galway in 2014.
The man was facing a charge of having alleged underage sex with the girl at a Limerick hotel on June 17th, 2014, and a Galway hotel on August 26th, 2014, contrary to section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act 2006.
The third former accused man in the case, a 40 year old, was charged with the sexual exploitation of a child contrary to section 3 of the Child Trafficking Act between September 7th and September 27th, 2014.
The former case against the man concerned the same 16-year-old female.
Books of evidence in the case were served in 2016 and the cases have been adjourned a number of times since at Ennis Circuit Court.
Ms Casey said the workload in the case was significant when asked by Judge Gerald Keys.
When entering nolle prosequis, normally the DPP does not give a reason for such a decision, but it is usually based on a problem with the evidence that has been assembled.