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Sentence hearing stopped after man assaulted in dock

The sentencing of a Dublin man for the sexual abuse of two young girls was halted at the Criminal Courts of Justice after the accused was assaulted in the dock in a “serious breach of security.”

Two men approached the accused man in the dock while evidence was being heard and a scuffle ensued.

The men were restrained and removed from the court room by prison staff and gardaí.

The accused man, who was bleeding in the aftermath, was taken to get medical attention.

It occurred while the prosecuting garda was giving evidence of the abuse of the two girls.

Mr Justice Paul Burns said the events represented “a serious breach of security” and what occurred would have to be investigated by the Courts Service.

He said further steps may have to be taken to secure the safety of persons in the building.

The 46-year-old accused man was convicted following a Central Criminal Court last 11 December of counts of sexual abuse including sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, oral rape, anal rape, vaginal rape and sexual exploitation against one girl on dates between 2019 and 2020.

The girl was aged between 15 and 16 years old at the time.

He was also convicted of one count of causing a child to watch pornography in relation to a second teenage girl, aged between 14 and 15 years old, in 2019.

After order was restored, Mr Justice Burns said what had taken place was unacceptable and represented a serious breach of security.

He noted the accused man had been the subject of an assault and one of the injured parties, who was present at the time, was clearly traumatised by what occurred.

“I know emotions can rise high in Central Criminal Court cases but this is not an excuse for this type of behaviour,” Mr Justice Burns told those present.

He said he assumed appropriate steps would be taken in relation to what had happened.

The judge remanded the accused man in continuing custody and adjourned the sentence hearing to continue on 26 February.

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