Defence Forces officer appears at court martial on assault charges

Allegations of physical and sexual assault in Dublin barracks made by two female soldiers

A Defence Forces officer has appeared before the opening of a general court martial into multiple allegations made against him, including sexual assault and physical assault.

The officer, who faces allegations from two serving female Defence Forces members of a lower military rank, is also facing charges of indiscipline and behaving in a disorderly manner due to being under the influence of an intoxicant.

The offences are alleged to have taken place at McKee Barracks in Dublin, in June, 2020. The general court martial opened at the Military Justice Centre at McKee Barracks on Tuesday morning, but after a short sitting was adjourned until next month.

Military Judge Col Michael Campion imposed a range of reporting restrictions on the case, including identifying the accused or complainants and other specific details. He said the detail of the case could have significant implications for "the accused, the Defence Forces and the persons against whom the offences are alleged to have been committed".


He imposed the reporting restrictions after a request by Comdt Sean Coffey, on behalf of the Director of Military Prosecutions, and in agreement with the accused officer's defence.

If convicted under military law, the accused could face imprisonment in the military jail in the Curragh Camp in Co Kildare, dishonourable discharge or a range of more minor penalties, such as demotion.

A statement of the accused’s means was presented to the court as part of his application for free legal aid. Acceding to that application, Col Campion said the trial could become a “significant” process in duration, adding the granting of legal aid was “essential” for the justice process.

The case was adjourned to May 9th when the arraignment process is set to take place before the substantive trial, about a mix of criminal and civil allegations, would commence.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times