The man charged with raping two little girls in Athlone at the weekend appeared at Longford District Court yesterday amid a heavy garda presence.
The unemployed 30-year-old male - who cannot be named for legal reasons - appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes, flanked by gardaí and wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and white runners during the brief hearing. A large crowd gathered at the back of the courthouse as the judge heard that the man before him had been charged with four counts of rape on two children at Montree, Athlone on September 28 last.
Superintendent Noirín O’Brien of Athlone Garda Station asked that the accused be remanded in custody to appear at Harristown District Court next Friday. She also pointed out that certain “comment in the media” could ultimately prove “unhelpful” to an impending trial.
An application for legal aid was also made by the man’s solicitor Gearoid Geraghty, and he also requested that his client be placed on suicide watch.
Judge Hughes then appealed to the media to become more aware of its obligations in its reporting of the case. “I want to remind the media of their obligations under the Sexual Offenses Act,” the judge said, adding that while he was aware of the “emotions of the public”, the anonymity of the victims was foremost. “The legal process is now underway and the legal and statutory warnings [in this case] only apply from today.”
Judge Hughes subsequently remanded the accused in custody as no application was made for bail. He also ordered that the man be placed on suicide watch and afforded all psychiatric and medical support while in custody. The accused will appear back before the courts on Friday, October 4.