A 64-year-old man who has been sent forward for trial by judge and jury on 16 counts of sexually assaulting a girl over a three-year period has refused all attempts to encourage him to get a lawyer to represent him.
Detective Garda John O’Donovan said he had already advised the defendant – when first charged – that he should get a solicitor but that the defendant insisted he did not want a solicitor.
Now at Cork District Court, Judge Olann Kelleher repeatedly told the accused that free legal aid would be available for him to instruct a solicitor and that a barrister would also be available to represent him at a trial by judge and jury.
“The court recommends that you get free legal aid,” Judge Kelleher said.
The defendant replied, “And I recommend that I don’t.”
Judge Kelleher said: “I know you deny all of these charges but if you are convicted they carry very serious penalties. Do you want to consider it again?”
The defendant said: “I don’t need a solicitor. First and foremost, I respect your court. I am respectful to people. One hundred thousand times this did not happen today, yesterday or anytime. I don’t need a solicitor to say this did not happen.”
Judge Kelleher said again: “I would have to say it would be in your interests to make sure your view gets across to the court.”
The defendant said: “It would be having someone going around saying something I can say for myself. I will be able to come to court and say exactly what I need to say.”
Judge Olann Kelleher sent the case forward from Cork District Court to the county sessions of Cork Circuit Criminal Court, commencing on February 1.
When first charged, the man made the same reply: ‘It did not happen’, to each of the 16 charges, Det Garda O’Donovan said.
There was no objection to bail provided the defendant gave an undertaking to stay out of a particular area in Co Cork where the complainant now lives. The accused man had no problem agreeing to that bail condition.
No details were given about the nature of the alleged incidents, which relate to a period between March 2012 and January 2016.