Monumental case Former GAA treasurer accused of sexually abusing 23 male victims ordered to stand trial
Thomas McKenna faces 173 charges allegedly committed over almost 30 years
Thomas McKenna faces 173 charges allegedly committed over a period of almost 30 years
March 10 2021 01:05 PM
A former GAA treasurer and postman turned alleged pervert was today ordered to stand trial accused of sexually abusing 23 male victims.
In one of the largest sex cases in Irish legal history, 60-year-old Thomas McKenna appeared at Newry Magistrates Court by video link from prison where he is on remand facing 173 charges allegedly committed over a near 30 year time span.
He confirmed his personal details, that he was aware of the charges and that he did not object to a Preliminary Enquiry, the legal step necessary to elevate any case to the more powerful Crown Court.
A former postman and treasurer for Crossmaglen GAC, McKenna, with an address given as c/o Maghaberry Prison, faces:
• 80 charges of indecent assault;
• 64 charges of sexual assault, sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault committed in Ireland;
• 18 counts of voyeurism;
• 3 counts of buggery;
• 2 counts of gross indecency with a child;
• 1 attempted rape;
• 1 attempted sexual assault ;
• 1 of taking an indecent photograph of a child;
• 1 sexual activity with a child and
• 2 of a postal operator interfering with the mail.
According to the litany of charges against the 23 male complainants:
• 20 were allegedly subjected to physical sexual abuse;
• 10 were allegedly spied on in secret and
• 3 were allegedly subjected to anal rape.
Going by the dates of the offences, one complainant who was allegedly buggered by McKenna was subjected to sex abuse by the 60-year-old for almost 27 years between September 1991 to August 2018.
Previous courts have heard claims that the “serious and complex investigation” involves alleged victims who say McKenna either sexually abused them or took photos and videos of them without their permission.
Police searches led to the recovery of devices said to contain 43,000 still images and 8,000 short video clips – some allegedly taken covertly.
While none of the alleged facts surrounding the catalogue of charges were opened in court today (wed) during the PE, a prosecuting lawyer submitted “that in the basis of the papers and statements before the court there’s a case to answer,” a submission conceded by defence counsel Kevin Magill.
The court clerk told McKenna that although not obliged to he had the right to comment on the charges and to call evidence to the PE on his behalf but he declined the opportunity.
Remanding McKenna back into custody, Deputy District Judge Laura Levers said she was satisfied there was a Prima Facie case to answer, telling the defendant “I’m returning you for trial” to Newry Crown Court.
She also ordered that legal aid is extended to allow a senior QC to be instructed for the defence and scheduled the arraignment for 27 April.