Man accused of rape of stepdaughter (12); Cork gardaí fear for safety of girl and mother

Man accused of rape of stepdaughter (12); Cork gardaí fear for safety of girl and mother

Gardaí objected to bail being granted to a 31-year-old man accused of raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter and carrying out acts of cruelty towards her.

Gardaí objected to bail being granted to a 31-year-old man accused of raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter and carrying out acts of cruelty towards her.

Detective Garda Sheena Dowling served a book of evidence on the defendant at Cork District Court and objected to bail being granted to him.

Garda fears for the safety of the complainant and her mother were so serious that they extended to concerns that the witnesses could be murdered if the defendant was released.

The book of evidence served on the defendant today contained eight charges.

The 31-year-old is accused of two counts of raping the girl, four counts of sexually assaulting her, one count of physically assaulting her causing harm and one count of child cruelty.

Defence solicitor, Diane Hallahan, applied for bail and also asked for legal aid to be extended to a barrister and senior counsel to represent the defendant at the trial in the Central Criminal Court. It will now be a matter for that court to set a date for a trial of the case, possibly sometime next year.

Judge Olann Kelleher refused bail but acceded to the free legal aid application. Legal aid was also extended to the translation of the book of evidence into the accused man’s native language.

Parties to the case cannot be identified because of the nature of the charges. Full details of today’s court proceedings are not published where there may a risk of the parties being identified.

It is alleged that the offences at the centre of the case were committed between September 2019 and May of this year. It was alleged that when gardaí called to the house on a date in May they observed that the child had a number of visible injuries and she was removed immediately from the family home.

“He has previously intimidated witnesses in this case,” Det. Garda Dowling said.

The guard said the injured party’s mother suffered a mental breakdown at one stage and that the defendant attempted to get her to sign over the care of her daughter to the defendant.

As well as fears that the defendant could intimidate or kill witnesses, Det. Garda Dowling said there were also fears that he would abscond and leave Ireland. 

“Gardaí believe he is a danger to the lives of those in the community,” Det. Garda Dowling testified.

Ms Hallahan, solicitor, said, “If he was granted bail he would abide by any conditions and would surrender his passport.”

Judge Olann Kelleher acceded to Sergeant John Kelleher’s application to remand the accused in custody to appear before the Central Criminal Court.

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