A sex abuse case had to be abandoned just minutes before it was due to start after the judge realised he knew one of the potential witnesses personally.

Judge John O'Hagan

Judge John O’Hagan

The case against a Donegal man was due to start this morning at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

The accused, who is in his 70s, is charged with indecent assault and gross indecency.

The accused is charged with seven different charges including one of gross indency and six of indecent assault.

At least one witness had come from outside the jurisdiction.

A videolink had also been set up for the alleged victim to give evidence in the trial which was expected to last up to three days.

However Judge John O’Hagan said he could not press ahead with the trial said it would be simply unfair to all parties if he did.

He said he did not realise the person was involved until he came out of his chambers and saw the person sitting on the witness bench.

“There is nothing I can do about it but it would be utterly wrong for me to hear it (the trial),” he said.

He adjourned the case until the next sitting of the circuit court in April and said he would contact the President of the Circuit Court on the matter.




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