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Sunday 23 July 2017

Wheelchair user denies groping teenager on bus

James Callaghan allegedly exposed himself to girl
James Callaghan allegedly exposed himself to girl

A wheelchair user accused of exposing himself to a young woman on a Dublin bus after touching her bottom has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.

James Callaghan (53) is accused of groping the passenger after "engaging her in conversation" in the alleged incident during a bus journey in west Dublin.

He entered his not guilty plea at Blanchardstown District Court yesterday and Judge David McHugh adjourned the case.

The district court trial is scheduled to take place in September.

Mr Callaghan, of Decies Road, Ballyfermot, is charged with one count of sexual assault on the alleged victim, who was in her late teens.

The incident is alleged to have happened on February 1 last year.

The case was before the court for the defendant to indicate whether he was pleading guilty or contesting the charge and seeking a trial date.

"We are seeking a date for hearing," defence solicitor Simon Fleming said.

Gda Sgt Maria Callaghan said the case "may take a while" and Judge McHugh set a date.

Documents

The defendant, who was present and in a wheelchair, did not address the court.

He was remanded on continuing bail.

On a previous court date, the judge accepted jurisdiction to deal with the charge after hearing an outline of the prosecution's case.

Sgt Callaghan had said it would be alleged that the defendant was on the number 40 bus on the Neilstown Road when he engaged someone else in conversation.

She was a "young female who was a passenger" on the bus.

"He proceeded to touch her on the buttocks and expose his penis to her," Sgt O'Callaghan alleged.

Judge McHugh accepted jurisdiction after hearing the summary of the allegations.

Sgt Callaghan told the judge that there was CCTV evidence available from the bus.

Mr Fleming applied for free legal aid on the accused's behalf, telling the judge that Mr Callaghan was in receipt of disability allowance. Judge McHugh granted this request.

Mr Fleming said he had received all documents he needed in disclosure from the prosecution.

Previously, the court was told the accused had "certain learning difficulties".

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