Man accused of sex crimes held in custody to determine fitness to plead

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A man accused of multiple sex crimes, and assault, has been remanded in custody until it can be determined whether he is fit to plead.

The 51 year old man, who cannot be named at this time, appeared before Galway Circuit Court to be arraigned this week.

He has been charged with four counts of sexual assault under Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990, along with two counts of attempted sexual assault contrary to common law, and one physical assault, all against a young girl.

The offences are alleged to have occurred at a location in Connemara in August of 2019.

The defence indicated this week that the man wished to plead guilty to five of the seven charges before the court.

But after initially pleading guilty to assault, he then said answered not guilty to following charges, before saying that he didn’t remember, or couldn’t understand when asked how he pleaded.

The defence indicated that a psychiatric report may be required to determine the accused man’s fitness to plea or be tried.

The case was due to go to trial last week, but the accused man took a bench warrant after informing his solicitor on the morning of the hearing date that he was going to hospital.

Medical records were produced on this date to show that he had been hospitalised. He had also discharged himself against the advice of his doctors.

Judge Rory McCabe said that he was not satisfied that the accused man understood what he was saying or doing during the arraignment.

The judge added that there was a certain urgency in getting the necessary reports to determine if the man was fit to plead, as the matter had been due to go to trial.

He said the quickest way to get a psychiatric report to determine that would be if he was in custody. The judge remanded the accused man in custody to July 22.

Free Legal Aid was extended for an independent report, if the defence felt they could get it quicker, and for the addition of a senior counsel.