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*Photograph: John Mangan

Gardaí were unable to serve a Book of Evidence on a 47-year old Co Clare man concerning the alleged sexual assault and false imprisonment of his ex-wife.

By Gordon Deegan

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Judge Mary Larkin said that the accused man was unable to come to court as he currently has Covid-19.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan said that the Book of Evidence is ready in the case and ready to be served on the accused man.

Sgt Lonergan said that as the accused man is unavailable the matter could be adjourned for two weeks and that the Book of Evidence could then be served.

As part of the prosecution against the man involving 22 separate charges, the man is also facing a charge of coercive control against the woman.

It is the first such coercive control charge under the Domestic Violence Act to come before the criminal courts in Clare where the man is accused of knowingly and persistently engaging in behaviour that was controlling or coercive and which had a serious effect on the woman who was or is his spouse between January 1st 2019 to May 15th 2019.

In total, the man is to face 12 counts of sexual assault, six counts of false imprisonment, two counts of assault calling harm against the woman, one count of criminal damage and the coercive control charge.

Sgt Lonergan stated that the case is to proceed by indictment to the circuit court.

The first alleged sexual assault against the woman is alleged to have occurred on October 15th 2018 with the final sex assault charge in February 2020. The alleged sexual assaults took place at two separate addresses.

Legal aid has been granted for the man and Gardaí have not opposed conditional bail for the accused.

As part of bail conditions, Judge Larkin has previously directed that the man surrender his passport, have no contact with any witnesses or the alleged injured party other than for the purpose of arranging access to a child.

Judge Larkin imposed reporting restrictions on the identity of the accused and alleged injured party due to the nature of the case.

Judge Larkin adjourned the case to February 2nd.

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