A failure by gardaí to enforce bail conditions on a man sentenced to 14 years in prison yesterday for the abduction and rape of a Spanish teenager is a “real worry”, the head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has warned.
Eoin Berkley (25), from Finglas, lured the 18-year-old, described in court as naïve and shy, from the city centre to a tent near a beach in Ringsend and repeatedly raped her over a 21-hour period, between July 15th and 16th, 2017.
Berkley had been barred from Dublin city centre nearly a year before after being released on bail for an alleged homophobic graffiti attack on a well-known gay bar. He was later acquitted on this charge.
Following his arrest for the abduction and rape, however, it emerged that Berkley had been seen four times in the city centre by gardaí in the weeks before the attack.
Once, he was charged with offences under the Public Order Act. A month before he attacked the Spanish student, a city centre-based garda inspector ordered Berkley’s detention under the Mental Health Act. He was seen by a doctor, but was deemed fit for release.
Two days later, Berkley’s brother rang a Garda station, saying Berkley must be detained. However, gardaí told him there was no basis for this detention and advised the brother to seek medical care for Berkley.
"I do think that the real worry is that the breach of the bail conditions was recognised by the gardaí and nothing was done about it," said Noeline Blackwell, a human rights lawyer and head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. "The gardaí do have a question to answer about why the terms of a court order – which is what the bail order was – were not being respected by the gardaí," she told The Irish Times.
Saying it could not comment on individual cases, the Garda said failure “to adequately monitor bail conditions would fall under the neglect of duty disciplinary category”.
Fianna Fáil TD James Browne said decisions about involuntary detention can only be made by medical experts, but, nevertheless, serious questions arose from the case.