Former Irish teacher will not face trial

 

A former teacher in a number of Irish-language schools has secured a High Court order permanently restraining his prosecution on 56 charges relating to sexual assaults allegedly committed by him against six boys.

The order was granted on grounds related to the delay in bringing the proceedings and the non-availability of a tape-recording, allegedly given by the teacher to gardaí, which recorded a meeting between the teacher and one complainant whom, the teacher alleged, had tried to blackmail him. The DPP did not oppose the application.

The offences were alleged to have occurred on dates between 1955 and 1981. One boy, who alleged that he was assaulted in 1955, said he had complained to the Minister for Education in 1982 and to the Minister for Justice on a number of dates from 1982. Another boy, who alleged that he was assaulted in 1980 and 1981, said he had complained about the teacher to his father and to another teacher in 1981.

The applicant teacher, who denied all the charges, had alleged that his right to a fair trial was prejudiced because of the delay in bringing a prosecution. He claimed he had no memory of some of the alleged incidents and that some potential witnesses had died. He also alleged that the recording of his meeting with one complainant, which he had given to gardaí, had not been returned to him. This recording was vital to his defence.

The man was due to go on trial earlier this year, but initiated judicial review proceedings, seeking to restrain his prosecution.

Mr Justice Ó Caoimh granted the man, who is in his 70s, an order permanently restraining his trial on charges related to offences allegedly committed between 1955 and 1981 at different places in Dublin, Meath, Galway, Westmeath, Wexford and Tipperary. Some of the complainants alleged that they were assaulted while they were staying in houses which accommodated students attending Irish-language summer schools.

One complainant alleged that he was assaulted in 1955 while sharing a bed with the teacher in the house where they were both staying. He said that the behaviour of the teacher was discussed between the complainant and other boys who shared the room. The complainant alleged that those boys included one who has since become known in Irish-language circles, but that man had been interviewed by gardaí and had declined to make a statement.

Another complainant alleged that the teacher committed 10 separate counts of attempted buggery and 10 separate indecent assaults against him in 1964 while he was a student attending an Irish-language course and staying with a family in Co Galway. He alleges further assaults in 1965 at other locations in the State.

The man's solicitor said that his client was arrested in relation to the charges in 1998 and made a number of statements on dates in 1998 and 1999. He said that his client was on prescribed medication when he was interviewed by gardaí and the admissibility of the statements made would be challenged in any trial.