Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Case adjourned against priest accused of indecent assault of student in 1980s

 Liam O'Brien, who faces a single count of indecent assault  at Coláiste An Chroí Naofa, Carraig Na Bhfear, Co Cork, in the mid-1980s. Picture: Cork Courts  The case against a priest accused of indecently assaulting a student in a school toilet on an unknown date in the mid-1980s was put back for more evidence on the complaint to be supplied to the defence. 

The case against Liam O’Brien, aged 66, of Woodview, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, was before Cork District Court yesterday for trial.

He faces a single count of indecent assault at Coláiste An Chroí Naofa, Carraig Na Bhfear, in Co Cork, in the mid-1980s.

The trial was adjourned by Judge Olann Kelleher until Mar 4, following legal submissions by defence solicitor Michael Staines.

His first submission was in relation to delay which he estimated at more than 26 years. He gave a hypothetical example: “I trained football teams for 40 years, if someone says I did something to someone in a dressing room 30 years ago, how can I possibly defend that?”

Mr Staines argued that this was precisely the situation in which his client found himself in the case. He said the first mention of it by the complainant to anyone was in Sept 2011 and the first time he spoke to gardaí was in Oct 2011.

Judge Kelleher also heard submissions from Inspector Michael McGuire.

The judge said he would not be stopping the trial on the basis of delay.

Mr Staines then addressed the question of a reference to the alleged incident made by the complainant to Ian Elliot of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in 2011.

He wanted to see any notes that Mr Elliot might have made in relation to what the complainant said to him. He had a similar application in relation to notes that might have been taken by a physiotherapist/counsellor to whom the complainant allegedly mentioned the matter.

Mr Staines said he would need to see such notes, if they existed, or possibly cross-examine the men if it was deemed necessary.

The judge said it was reasonable to adjourn the case to explore these issues as he said: “It goes to the veracity of the complaint.”

Insp McGuire said the judge who dealt initially with the case made an order the accused could be identified in media reports but the complainant could not.

No comments: