A 29-year-old Dublin woman is to face trial accused of having sex with a Rottweiler dog.
Interim reporting restrictions preventing the media from identifying the accused were imposed when the bestiality case came before Dublin District Court today.
The woman is accused of a single offence contrary to section 61 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. The charge states it is alleged she committed an act of buggery with an animal, a mixed breed dog, which was part Rottweiler. It allegedly happened at her home address on a date in December 2019.
Directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) were obtained and within the last month she was charged. She was granted station bail and the case had its first listing at the district court today.
She did not have to attend the hearing due to Covid-19 restrictions in court, but she had instructed a solicitor to be in court.
Evidence of her arrest and reply to charge was furnished to the court in a document. None of the facts about the allegation were given during the brief hearing.
Judge Treasa Kelly was told the DPP has directed trial on indictment. This means the case is to be sent to the circuit court which has wider sentencing powers.
Judge Kelly adjourned the case until a date in September for the prosecution to complete the book of evidence which must be served on the accused before she can be returned for trial.
Defence solicitor Tony Collier consented to the State having extra time to complete the book of evidence.
Mr Collier also applied for reporting restrictions to be imposed. He conceded that his client was not necessarily entitled to that protection, but, he contended, the publication of her name could bring about difficulties.
Nature of the charge
The nature of the charge and the "revulsion" it might receive from media attention may affect future proceedings, he argued. He submitted that this could be prejudicial to her right to a fair trial.
Although there was no legislative provision, the court had discretion to impose reporting restrictions, the solicitor said.
He cited High Court and Supreme Court rulings setting out how courts had common law jurisdiction to impose reporting restrictions where there was no legislation provided in the act, under which a prosecution was brought.
Such an order could be made on an interim basis, he submitted. He also told the court that his client has a defence.
Judge Kelly said the case was at an early stage, and that she wished to consider the case law which Mr Collier cited. She directed that the defendant cannot, at present, be identified, but she added that this was an interim order, until the next hearing.
Legal aid was granted after the solicitor said that the woman was a suitable candidate and was on social welfare. A statement of her means will be furnished to the court.