Ennis Courthouse

*The man has been sent forward for trial at the Central Criminal Court. 

A 38-year old Co Clare man has appeared in court charged with inciting two other males to rape a woman.

In what is believed to be the first such prosecution brought before the courts, the man is facing two charges of inciting two named males to rape the named woman on dates between November and December 2020.

In total the man is facing nine separate charges and at Ennis District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett has sent the accused forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

Underlining the scale of the Garda investigation by the Clare Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) into the alleged offences, a four volume Book of Evidence has been served on the accused.

In the case, the man is accused of inciting a named male to rape a named woman between November 18th and December 20th 2020 within the State contrary to common law.

In a second charge, the man is accused of inciting another male to rape the same named woman between November 22nd and December 6th 2020 within the State contrary to common law.

The man is also facing three charges of impersonating the same named woman via internet communications on a website, fetlife.com and those communications invited persons unknown to attend her home and the home of two other named females for the purpose of visiting violence on the persons therein thereby causing a risk of death or serious harm to the named woman and two other females.

The Fetlife.com website describes itself as ‘the most popular social network for BDSM, fetish & kinky community’.

The three charges cover date periods from April 20th 2020 to December 18th 2020 contrary to Section 13 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

The Clare man is facing three other charges of impersonating the same named woman in Facebook communications which invited persons unknown to visit violence on her and two other named females creating a substantial risk of death or serious harm to all three.

The date of these alleged offences contrary to Section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 cover date periods from November 26th 2018 to December 26th 2020.

The man is also charged on January 17th 2021 at an Ennis address having in his possession four child sexual abuse images in breach of Section 2 of the Child Pornography Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.

In court, Det Sgt Paul English of the Clare DPSU gave sworn evidence of serving the Book of Evidence before court.

Sgt John Burke of Ennis Garda Station told Judge Gabbett that the DPP consents to the case being returned for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

Judge Gabbett asked solicitor, Daragh Hassett for the accused was legal aid required in the case and Mr Hassett replied “No – not at this stage”. The occupation of the accused man was not disclosed in court.

Judge Gabbett said that an alibi probably doesn’t arise but told the accused that if an alibi forms part of his defence that his solicitor, Mr Hassett must inform the State within 14 days.

The accused, wearing a shirt and tie to court and who did not speak in court during the brief return to trial hearing, first appeared before court on the charges last October and Judge Gabbett said that the man’s bail terms are to continue.

They include that the man reside at an address in Ennis, sign on twice weekly at Ennis Garda Station, surrender his passport, have no contact with any alleged injured parties and stay off all social media platforms.

Judge Gabbett said that reporting restrictions in the case are to continue.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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