A judge has refused to strike out an assault charge against a man remanded in connection with the alleged false imprisonment of a woman after his solicitor claimed he was prejudiced by “scandalous newspapers reports”.
At Limerick District court yesterday, solicitor John Devane submitted a number of national newspaper articles to Judge Eugene O'Kelly, which reported on a young woman who is alleged to have been held against her will at an apartment in Limerick city for six days.
Last week Mr Devane's client, Jody Curtin (33), Claughaun Avenue, Garryowen, Limerick, was one of three men charged in connection with the incident.
Mr Curtin is charged with assault causing harm to a woman at a flat in Limerick city on May 3rd.
Following a lengthy hearing, Mr Curtin was refused bail and remanded in custody to appear before Limerick District Court again yesterday.
Two other men also appeared before the same court last week charged with the false imprisonment of the woman at an address in Limerick on May 3rd.
Both were granted bail and due to appear in court again in July.
When Mr Curtin's case was called yesterday his solicitor claimed that his client had been "gravely prejudiced" by articles published last week in the Irish Independent , the Herald and the Sunday World newspapers.
None of the articles named Mr Curtin; however, Mr Devane claimed they were "utterly sensationalist".
Mr Devane said his client was before the court on a section 3 assault causing harm charge during last week’s bail hearing.
He added the only reporter present in court for last week's bail hearing was David Hurley of the Limerick Leader newspaper and described his report as "100 per cent right".
Rejecting an application to have the charge struck out, Judge O’Kelly said Mr Curtin had not been identified in any of the national newspaper articles.
Judge O'Kelly described an article published in the Irish Independent on May 17th in which Mr Curtin was named as an accurate account of the court hearing that occurred two days previous.
The judge refused an application to have the editors of the three national newspapers and two reporters brought before his court to explain the coverage.
Judge O'Kelly said it was "outrageous that a newspaper should seek to adjudicate on a matter that has yet to come to court" and advised Mr Devane to make a complaint to the Press Council.
Mr Devane asked for the question of bail to be revisited but Judge O'Kelly refused and said this was a matter for the High Court.
Garda Sgt Donal Cronin argued there were "many mechanisms" open to the court and trial judge to ensure adverse publicity did not affect any future proceedings.
Mr Curtin was remanded in custody until July 18th.