Accused in murder case can be named, judge rules
Updated / Thursday, 4 Feb 2021 15:32
A delivery cyclist accused of murdering a schoolboy in last week can be named by the media, a judge has ruled.
Judge Victor Blake noted today that the accused, George Gonzaga Bento, and the 16-year-old boy were not known to each other, and there was no risk that naming him would identify the victim.
The teen suffered fatal injuries last week and was rushed to hospital, but was later pronounced dead.
The secondary schoolboy cannot be identified due a recent judgment preventing the news media from identifying any deceased child victim.
Mr Bento, who is from Brazil but has lived and worked in Ireland for several years, was charged on Saturday.
He appeared at Dublin District Court later that day when Judge John Campbell made an order that his name could not be published either, to protect the identity of the victim.
He later told a solicitor for Independent News & Media that it was an interim order until the defendant’s next appearance and the matter could be taken up then.
Mr Bento, a food delivery cyclist with an address at East Wall, Dublin 3, appeared before Judge Blake at Cloverhill District Court today.
He was remanded in continuing custody to appear again on 4 March next for formal directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions to be obtained.
Dressed in a light brown tracksuit, Mr Bento listened to the proceedings with the assistance of an interpreter. He did not address the court.
Tom Murphy BL, for RTÉ and the national newspapers, asked the judge not to prevent the naming of the accused.
The original order had been made in error and publishing his name him would not prejudice his right to a fair trial, the barrister argued.
It was accepted the child could not be identified due to reporting restrictions under Section 252 of the Children Act.
State solicitor Mairead White said the media’s application was not opposed, and she asked Detective Sergeant Shane Noone to give the court some factual background.
In evidence, he told the court that three parties were at the incident, “and none of the three were known to each other”.
“It is the investigation team’s belief, and my belief, that they were not known to each other, that they were strangers,” he said.
There were two in one group, eight to ten in another, and one other person was the third party, he told the court.
The State solicitor said on that basis the application would not be opposed.
The media’s barrister argued that this case differed to another recently, where an adult could not be named to prevent identification of a deceased child.
“There is no link whatsoever between the accused and the deceased in this case,” Mr Murphy said, adding that, “there is no risk to the identity of the child, which I acknowledge is prohibited, there is no risk of that happening by identifying the accused”.
Barry Ward BL, for the defence, did not object.
Judge Blake said he was not renewing the order preventing identification of Bento.
Following a request by the defence, however, he ordered that his specific address could not be reported.
At his first hearing on Saturday, Detective Sergeant Noone said the accused had “no reply” to the murder charge and in response to the weapon allegation, he answered: “This is the charge, or this is the final decision”.
A bail application in a murder case can only be heard by the High Court. Mr Bento has not yet indicated how he will plead.