THE trial of a Limerick city man who is accused of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault may not now take place until Spring 2016.
The defendant, who is aged 35, had been due to go on trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin this Wednesday.
On Monday a jury of seven men and five women was selected for the trial after the defendant pleaded not guilty to a total of 18 charges including charges of rape, sexual assault, assault and false imprisonment.
All of the offences are alleged to have happened at locations in Limerick city on dates in May of last year.
It is alleged the woman, who is from the southside of the city, was “pulled from a taxi” on May 3, 2013 by a number of men who bundled her into another vehicle before taking her to a flat near the city centre.
All of the rape offences are alleged to have happened at this address while the woman was allegedly being held against her will.
It is further alleged that she was assaulted at two other locations in the city and that on one occasion she was “severely injured” when she was beaten across the legs with a shovel.
In legal argument in the absence of the jury prior to the beginning of the trial this Wednesday morning, Brendan Nix SC, representing the defendant, sought an adjournment of the trial due to the close proximity to Christmas and the likelihood of the trial not finishing before Christmas.
He also said the were outstanding issues surrounding the disclosure of certain materials - relating to the alleged injured party - which his instructing solicitor, John Devane, only requested from the prosecution earlier this week.
Discharging the jury, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said had the trial proceeded and not finished by the end of next week, he would not have been be in a position to resume the trial until January 8, 2015.
He said having discussed the matter with lawyers representing the prosecution and defence, he was of the opinion that such a long gap (in the middle of the trial) would be undesirable.
The judge told the jurors that Mr Nix, who has almost 40 years experience working in the courts, had informed him the materials he has requested were required as part of the defence case and he said he had to respect his position.
“I can’t ignore those things,” he said adding that he was as frustrated as the jurors that the trial was not in a position to get underway.
The judge excused the jurors from further jury service for three years and he adjourned the case to next week when a new date will be fixed for the trial.
The judge has also requested that he be updated in on the progress relating to the disclosure of the materials requested by the defendant’s lawyers.
The accused man, did not speak as he sat in dock during this Wednesday’s proceedings, which lasted for almost and hour.
Because of the nature of the case, only lawyers, gardai, court officials and members of the media were allowed in the courtroom.