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Man and woman charged with over 200 offences against five children at Killarney court

The garda investigation took place over three years.

Image: RollingNews.ie

A MAN AND a woman have been brought before a court in Killarney charged with over  200 offences involving a total of five children.

The garda investigation had taken place over three years and involved a number of locations and the matters alleged were “very serious” and the alleged harm “grave”, the District Court sitting was told during a hearing that took almost an hour. Strict reporting restrictions have been imposed so as not to identify any of the parties. 

Investigating officer Sergeant Bridget Foley, gave evidence of arresting the man at 7.10am today to charge him with offences for sexual assault and child cruelty between the years 2009 to 2016.

The man is accused of 112 counts in the case of one child. These include seventeen counts of rape, seventeen accounts of aggressive sexual assault, and 16 counts of sexual assault.

He is also accused of 28 counts of neglect and 28 of wilful cruelty against the child. 

There were five counts of sexual exploitation under the Child Trafficking and Pornographic Act and one count of a threat to kill, under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the State Act,  the sergeant detailed.

The man is facing 22 counts of neglect involving four other children.

The age range of the children at the outset of some of the alleged offences is very young, the court was told. 

Sergeant Foley said the state were objecting to bail in his case because of the “very very serious charges”. All the allegations related to harm of a grave degree, she said.

The man was  not gainfully employed and gardaí believed he would leave the jurisdiction, now that a prosecution was in train, the sergeant also said, objecting to bail. 

There had been a three year garda investigation, beginning in May 2016, the court was told. 

Applying for bail, the man’s solicitor Nuala Liston said the man had not left the jurisdiction since first interviewed in January 2017, that he had no current passport and had no convictions and had “a blemish free character”, Ms Liston said. 

Judge David Waters said he was granting bail but with quite strict conditions given the seriousness of the alleged offences.

The conditions are that he must sign on daily at a garda station, surrender all travel documentation and make no contact with  the alleged victims or with witnesses.

The man is to reside at an address handed into court.

Judge Waters imposed reporting restrictions saying nothing was to be reported identifying the parties or the location of the alleged offences.

Sergeant Foley, called by Sergeant Miriam Mulhall Nolan, gave evidence of the woman’s arrest, also today, for a total of 79 offences including sexual assault and child cruelty. 

The allegations include some 16 counts of sexual assault; five of sexual exploitation and 36 of child neglect in the case of one child; and there are 22 counts of child neglect involving four children. 

There was no objection to bail in the case of the woman, but conditions were being sought, Sergeant Foley said. 

Conditions similar to that of the accused man were imposed by Judge Waters, as were reporting restrictions. 

The man and woman are both in their forties and have known each other for some time, the court was told.

The matter has been adjourned to next Tuesday for the book of evidence.

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Anne Lucey

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