Man charged with raping two young girls

30-year-old defendant placed on suicide watch ahead of further court appearance

The scene outside Longford Courthouse this morning where a man was charged with four counts of rape of two young girls. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The scene outside Longford Courthouse this morning where a man was charged with four counts of rape of two young girls. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A 30-year-old man has been charged with four counts of rape of two young girls who had been attending a birthday party in Athlone at the weekend.

Judge Seamus Hughes remanded the defendant in custody ahead of a further appearance in court on Friday. He also requested the man be placed on suicide watch.

The judge said while he was aware of the heightened emotions surrounding the case, he had every confidence that the public would assist gardaí in their work.

He also reminded the media of its legal obligation to protect the anonymity of both the defendant and the victims.

The suspect, of no fixed abode, appeared in Longford District Court court wearing a black jacket and black jeans. He had a scratch on the left side of his face.

He arrived earlier in the day under heavy security, accompanied by members of the Garda’s armed support unit.

The suspect’s solicitor, Gearoid Geraghty, requested that the defendant undergo a psychiatric evaluation, as he was concerned at his ability to enter a plea. Judge Hughes granted the request.

He also expressed concern at the impact that pre-trial publicity may have on the integrity of the legal process.

Garda Sergeant Yvette McCormack told the court the defendant had been formally charged with four counts of rape yesterday evening.

Supt Noreen McBrien requested that the defendant be remanded in custody ahead of a further appearance in court on Friday.