Michael Staines
Michael Staines

16.30 28 Apr 2021


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A man charged with the murders of a woman and two children at their south County Dublin home has been sent forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

An investigation was launched following a post-mortem into the three deaths in October. Neither they nor the defendant can be identified for legal reasons.

The case has now progressed to the next stage before new laws allowing murdered children to be named come into effect.

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Murder

Gardai arrested the man, who is in his 30s, in November and charged him with three counts of murder after which he made no reply.

Dressed in a brown jacket, blue jeans and white runners, the accused faced his ninth hearing when he appeared before Judge Victor Blake at Cloverhill District Court today.

State solicitor Claire Barry told the judge the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed trial on indictment and she consented to the accused being returned for trial on the three charges.

A book of evidence was served on the accused in court by Detective Sergeant John White.

Central Criminal Court

Judge Blake granted the trial order and told the man he was being sent forward in custody to the Central Criminal Court. A date for his appearance at that court has not yet been scheduled.

Judge Blake cautioned him that he must notify the prosecution within 14 days if he intended to use an alibi in his defence. The man nodded and spoke only to confirm he understood that legal warning.

An order was granted for copies of video evidence to be given to his legal team.

The District Court cannot consider a bail application in a murder case.

Judge Blake acceded to defence counsel Brian Mulvany’s application for legal aid to be granted. There was no State objection.

Arrest

The man was first held in custody on Nov 30th by Judge Anne Watkin at Dun Laoghaire District Court.

Evidence of arrest, charge and caution was given by Detective Sergeant White. Two of the injured parties were juveniles, he had said.

Last year, the Court of Appeal held that the right to anonymity – under section 252 of the Children Act – can also include deceased child crime victims.

At the man's first hearing reporting restrictions were ordered and a subsequent attempt by the media to have them lifted was unsuccessful.

Children (Amendment) Act 2021

A bill to allow murdered children to be named once again has passed all stages in the Oireachtas and on April 26, President Michael D Higgins signed it into law.

On Tuesday, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee signed off the commencement order for the Children (Amendment) Act 2021 but it will not come into effect until May 7th.

Judge Blake noted today that the law change does not apply yet.

Reporting from Tom Tuite at Cloverhill District Court


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