A Dublin taxi driver has been accused of raping a young woman passenger in the back of his car.
The man, in his late 40s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Judge Patricia Cronin at Dublin District Court on Wednesday.
Following directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions, gardaí charged him with raping the passenger, in her early 20s, in the early hours of August 9th.
He was remanded in custody with consent to €2,500 bail with a range of strict conditions.
Detective Ultan McIlroy told Judge Cronin he arrested the accused on Tuesday night, brought him to Balbriggan Garda Station and charged him.
The court heard the man "made no reply" to the charge, but had earlier claimed he had consensual sex with the woman.
Objecting to bail, the detective referred to the seriousness of the case. He told a contested bail hearing that the accused collected the injured party outside a Dublin city centre venue at about 4am to bring her home.
It was alleged he turned down a male passenger before accepting a fare from the complainant, who sat in the back seat.
The court heard that there was CCTV evidence, and he was later "observed driving around aimlessly" in north Co Dublin for about 13 minutes.
It was alleged he stopped and got into the back seat, and raped the young woman for eight minutes.
The court heard he then drove her home after using his phone to locate the house.
The detective feared the man would interfere with the alleged injured party.
Questioned by defence solicitor Danielle O'Sullivan, Detective Garda McIlroy agreed her client would face trial on indictment in the Central Criminal Court and would have to wait two or three years until his trial.
The officer told the court he believed the accused, married with children, was no longer welcome at his home. However, he agreed with the solicitor that he was arrested there.
Ms O’Sullivan argued that the court could impose bail with strict conditions.
The detective agreed that when questioned the taxi driver gave an account that sex was consensual. Ms O'Sullivan asked the court to disregard speculation that her client would interfere with witnesses.
Judge Cronin noted the testimony, cross-examination and defence submissions and said the accused faced an extremely serious charge with a potential life sentence. However, he had the presumption of innocence, and the court had to consider if it could impose conditions.
She held that there was insufficient evidence to refuse bail.
Judge Cronin set the bail in his bond of €250 but added that there must be a court-approved €2,000 independent surety, half lodged and the remainder frozen in a bank account.
In addition, he must reside at an address he furnished to the court, sign on at a local garda station three days a week and obey a 10pm – 7am curfew.
Judge Cronin warned gardaí could call at his home; he must provide them with his phone number, surrender his passport and not apply for duplicate travel documents. She told him he had to stay out of parts of Dublin and have no contact with the injured party or witnesses, including by electronic means and social media.
Following a request from Detective Garda McIlroy, she ordered the accused to surrender his PSV licence and not to carry out any taxi work for himself or a third party.
The accused spoke only to confirm the address where he would live. The judge refused to lift the requirement for an independent surety, given the serious nature of the charge.
However, she granted the man legal aid. The court heard gardaí seized his car, and he was now out of work.
Judge Cronin remanded him in custody with consent to bail to appear at Cloverhill District Court on August 31st.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.