A RETIRED teacher has been convicted of indecently assaulting six schoolboys at a school in Limerick more than thirty years ago.
The 73-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to 78 counts of indecent assault relating to offences which were alleged to have occurred on various dates between September 1, 1978, and June 30, 1981.
However before the jurors began their deliberations last Friday morning, they were told that following legal arguments in their absence the number of charges before the court had been reduced to 72.
Shortly before 4.30pm this Wednesday, the foreman of the jury indicated that majority verdicts had been agreed in relation to 30 of the charges but that no agreement had been reached in relation to the remaining charges.
It took almost half an hour for details of the verdicts to be read out by the court registrar.
In relation to the guilty verdicts, the foreman said 25 were on a 10-2 majority while five were on a 11-1 majority.
A formal verdict of disagreement was recorded in relation to the remaining charges after the foreman told Judge John Hannan that additional time would not be of benefit to their deliberations.
Following the verdicts, the judge thanked the jurors for their attention and effort during the trial which, he said, was “exceptionally long” and challenging.
He noted they had spent more than 10 hours “hammering things out” in the jury room during three days of deliberations.
Discharging the jury, Judge Hannan said he was excusing them from further jury service for ten years.
The defendant, who sat directly across from the jury as the verdicts were read out, did not react in any way.
Andrew Sexton SC, defending, said his client was not seeking bail and was consenting to a remand in custody pending a sentencing hearing early next month.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said victim impact statements will be prepared ahead of the sentencing hearing and that he will be seeking instructions from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the 42 charges on which the jury failed to agree a verdict.
Judge Hannan ordered that reporting restrictions should remain in place pending the conclusion of the sentencing process.