Former politician `not fit to stand trial' on child abuse charges

 

The DPP is not to proceed with the prosecution of a former senior politician on 70 charges of indecent assault of five children following expert medical advice that the man is unfit to stand trial due to his age and illness, the High Court was told yesterday.

Mr Justice Kelly struck out proceedings brought by the former politician, who was seeking an order restraining the DPP from further proceeding with the criminal prosecution, which was due to be heard in the Circuit Criminal Court.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in national politics for more than two decades. ail and Seanad.

Five persons made allegations of indecent assault against him.

The complainants are understood to be adults who claimed they were abused by the man when they were children. Some of the allegations date back more than 30 years and are alleged to have occurred in a school.

A file had been sent to the DPP three years ago and he had decided that the elderly man should be prosecuted. He faced 70 charges of child sexual abuse.

The former politician got High Court permission two years ago to challenge the intended criminal proceedings, claiming it was unfair to continue the proceedings having regard to delay in making complaints, his age, the availability of witnesses and material evidence, the generalised nature of the allegations and previous adverse media publicity.

Yesterday Mr Patrick MacEntee SC, for the man, told Mr Justice Kelly the State had accepted there was no issue to be determined. Expert advice was that the man was not fit to face trial through age and illness, and in those circumstances the DPP had agreed to enter a nolle prose-qui in the Circuit Criminal Court.

An affidavit on behalf of the DPP stated that, in the light of a psychologist's report, the DPP had decided the former politician was not in a position to stand trial due to his deteriorating mental condition. The prosecution would not be pursued.