A 27-year-old who was one of over 20 men arrested in Limerick part of a sting operation involving undercover gardai posing as prostitutes has had the case against him dismissed.
The city man had been due to represent himself at Limerick District Court and denied a charge of soliciting or importuning two gardai for the purposes of prostitution on Catherine Street on December 3, 2011.
When Sgt Donal Cronin told Judge Eugene O’Kelly that the prosecuting officer Garda Sharon Quirke was ill and could not attend court, the accused protested that this was the third occasion on which he had turned up to have the case heard.
In the absence of the accused in December 2011, Judge Eamon O’Brien had ordered that he contribute €470 to Doras Luimni, a charity campaigning to end human trafficking for prostitution.
Another 20 men with addresses in Limerick, Clare, Kerry and Tipperary - who had all been charged with solicitation arising from the covert garda Operation Freewheel - were subjected to similar orders after evidence was heard they had offered to pay the gardai for sex.
But the 27-year-old accused said he had not turned up in court in December 2011 because he had not been notified by his then solicitor Chris Lynch. Having since opted to represent himself and contest the case, he said he had turned up on two further occasions to have his case heard. Judge O’Kelly dismissed the charge for want of prosecution.