The DPP has directed trial on indictment at the Central Criminal Court
SIX women and five men are to face trial before the Central Criminal Court after they were charged with multiple offences relating to the alleged abuse and neglect of children over a six year period.
The defendants, who range in age from 76 to 25, face a total of 212 charges relating to a variety of dates between 2011 and 2017.
The charges include rape, sexual exploitation, sexual assault and child cruelty/neglect. There are four alleged victims who are all juveniles.
The defendants, who have addresses in several counties across Munster, were arrested at a garda station in Limerick this Saturday morning and brought before a special court sitting having been charged.
A number of the accused persons each face more than 40 charges while one of them faces a single charge of sexual exploitation of a child.
Given the number of defendants and the number of charges preferred, it took just under an hour for the procedural court hearing to be completed.
In each case, Judge Mary Larkin heard evidence from a garda relating to the formal arrest and charge of each defendant. There was no reply, she was told, to the majority of the charges.
Inspector Andrew Lacey confirmed DPP’s directions had been received in each case and that the matters are to proceed on indictment before the Central Criminal Court.
Each of the defendants were granted bail subject to their compliance with strict conditions including that they sign on at their local garda station and surrender their passports to gardai.
None of them spoke during the court hearing and all eleven were granted free legal aid.
Judge Larkin imposed strict reporting restrictions in order to protect the alleged victims who, she said, are vulnerable and have an “absolute right to anonymity”.
She warned if anything is published which identifies them she will refer the matter to the “appropriate authority”.
Each case was adjourned to a date later this year to facilitate the preparation of a book of evidence.
There was a significant garda presence at the courthouse where the hearing took place and a large crowd which gathered outside could be heard shouting during the proceedings.