Man and woman charged with more than 200 child abuse offences

Pair granted bail after appearing in court in Killarney accused of causing ‘grave’ harm

The Garda investigation had taken place over three years, the District Court sitting was told.

The Garda investigation had taken place over three years, the District Court sitting was told.

 

A man and a woman in their 40s have appeared in court in Killarney charged with more than 200 offences involving a total of five children.

The Garda investigation had taken place over three years, the District Court sitting was told. It involved a number of locations and the matters alleged were “very serious” and the alleged harm was “grave”, the court heard.

Strict reporting restrictions were imposed to prevent the identification of any of the parties involved.

Investigating officer Sergeant Bridget Foley gave evidence of arresting the man at 7.10am on Tuesday. She said she charged him with a number of offences related to sexual assault and child cruelty between 2009 and 2016.

The man is accused of 112 counts in the case of one child. These include 17 counts of rape, 17 counts of aggressive sexual assault and 16 counts of sexual assault. He is also accused of 28 counts of neglect and 28 of wilful cruelty against the child.

There were five counts of sexual exploitation under the Child Trafficking and Pornographic Act and one count of a threat to kill, under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the State Act, the sergeant said.

The man is facing 22 counts of neglect involving four other children.

The children were very young when the alleged offences began, the court was told.

Sgt Foley said the State was objecting to bail because of the “very very serious charges”. All the allegations related to harm of a grave degree, she said.

The man is unemployed and gardaí believed he would leave the jurisdiction now that a prosecution was in train, the sergeant said. There had been a three year Garda investigation, beginning in May 2016, the court was told.

Applying for bail, the man’s solicitor Nuala Liston said the man had not left the jurisdiction since he was first interviewed in January 2017 and had no current passport. She said her client had no convictions and had “a blemish free character”.

Judge David Waters said he was granting bail but with strict conditions, given the seriousness of the alleged offences. The man was ordered to sign on daily at a Garda station, surrender all travel documentation and make no contact with the alleged victims or with witnesses.

The man is to reside at an address handed into court.

Sgt Foley also gave evidence of the woman’s arrest on Tuesday. The woman was charged with a total of 79 offences, including sexual assault and child cruelty.

The allegations include 16 counts of sexual assault; five of sexual exploitation and 36 of child neglect in the case of one child. She faces 22 other counts of child neglect involving four children.

There was no objection to bail in the case of the woman, but conditions were being sought, Sgt Foley said.

Conditions similar to that of the accused man were imposed by Judge Waters. Judge Waters imposed reporting restrictions, saying nothing was to be reported identifying the parties or the location of the alleged offences.

The matter has been adjourned to next Tuesday for the book of evidence.