Harassment accused sent porn clips to TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, court hears

ireland
Harassment Accused Sent Porn Clips To Td Jennifer Carroll Macneill, Court Hears Harassment Accused Sent Porn Clips To Td Jennifer Carroll Macneill, Court Hears
A Limerick man accused of harassing Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill (above) sent her sexually explicit videos and messages
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Tom Tuite

A Limerick man accused of harassing Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill sent her sexually explicit videos and messages with emojis and kisses via the Facebook messenger app, a court heard.

Gerard Culhane, 43, with an address at Marian Place, Glin, Co Limerick, had appeared in court last month after he was charged with harassing the politician at places unknown within the State on dates between January 13th and March 26th, 2020.

As part of his bail conditions, he has been ordered to have no contact directly, indirectly or on social media with the Dún Laoghaire TD.

On August 10th, Detective Sergeant Rachael Kilpatrick met Mr Culhane by appointment at Dundrum garda station and charged him with the offence. She told a district court hearing that in reply after caution, he said: “No, I accept the charge.”

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She had no objections to bail, but had asked for a number of conditions which were imposed.

The DPP had directed summary disposal of the case in the district court and disclosure of prosecution evidence was ordered.

It resumed on Wednesday at Dún Laoghaire District Court for a ruling on his trial venue. He did not have to attend, but was represented by counsel.

Messages

In outline of the allegations, Detective Sergeant Kilpatrick said there were 19 communications sent via the Facebook messenger app.

They included three videos of “sexually explicit content”. Pictures of the complainant which had already been in the public domain were also sent to her.

There were also 14 text messages with general conversation about upcoming events in her life “and emojis and kisses”.

Detective Sergeant Kilpatrick said the complainant was a public representative and that she and the accused were not known to each other.

Judge Ann Watkin said it would have been relatively harmless if there had not been the videos and she was inclined to refuse jurisdiction.

Cross-examined by defence barrister Robert Crowley, Detective Sergeant Kilpatrick agreed the videos were not of the defendant but had been taken from a porn website.

However, she said it was alleged Mr Culhane suggested that “they were of the defendant himself”.

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Judge Watkin said it would have been pretty horrific and frightening for the complainant.

Refusing jurisdiction, she noted the videos were not of the accused but that he alleged they were. “I think if someone were to receive that, it is not just upsetting, it is the fear what a person might do, I think the fear it created would have been huge,” she said.

Higher court

She held the case was too serious to be dealt with in the district court and should be heard in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

Judge Watkin remanded Mr Culhane on continuing bail in his absence to appear on Oct. 20 when he will be served with a book of evidence and returned for trial to the higher court.

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He has not yet offered a plea.

As part of the conditions, he has to sign on once a week at a local garda stations. He must have no contact with the alleged victim or any witnesses.

Mr Culhane has been ordered to live at his current address, and he must to inform gardaí of any change, and he had to provide them with his mobile phone number.
Mr Culhane who is unemployed has been granted legal aid.

Ms Carroll MacNeill, the vice-chair of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and its spokesperson for equality, was elected to the Dáil in February last year. She was not present for, or required to attend, the preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

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