Boys may escape underage sex trial
TWO teenage boys accused of repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old may not stand trial unless the State has its book of evidence ready within a fortnight.
A judge has given the State two more weeks to complete a book of evidence in the case of the youths who are alleged to have sexually assaulted the girl.
It is alleged the girl was abused by six youths, whose ages range from 17 to 19, on four dates in March and February 2010, at three locations in Co Kildare.
Two of them, both aged 17, who were charged in October, appeared again at the Dublin Children's Court yesterday.
It has already been held that they must be sent forward for trial to the Circuit Court, which has wider sentencing powers, however, first they must be served with a book of evidence.
Judge Bryan Smyth heard yesterday that due to the seriousness of the case, the book of evidence was not yet completed.
However, a State solicitor asked the judge to allow an extension of time, adding that it would be ready in two weeks.
Judge Smyth agreed to the request but also acceded to an application by the defence for the case to be marked "peremptory against the State".
This means the prosecution could be struck out if the book of evidence is not ready to be served at the teens' next court appearance on February 22.
The pair, who were accompanied to court by their mothers, were remanded on continuing bail.
One of them faces four counts of sexual assault of the girl on three dates in 2010 and four allegations that he had sex with the underage complainant. He has claimed he had not known the girl's true age at the time and thought she was older, the court has heard.
The second boy is accused of four counts of sexual assault as well as two counts of having sex with the girl at his home and at another location on two dates in March 2010.