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Judge's final warning over delays to 'cash for sex' case

By Staff Reporter

The trial of a man accused of paying for sexual services is to be heard next month after a series of delays.

The prosecution of James Maloney (23), of Drumarg Villas, Armagh, for the alleged offence in August 2016, is the first of its kind in the UK under new legislation.

The case initially came before Dungannon Magistrates Court last October, where a defence lawyer said his client denied the charge.

At a hearing in January it transpired the alleged victim speaks very little English, but the PPS had failed to book an interpreter.

She was not present and it emerged she was terrified to attend court or be required to face the accused.

At a hearing in March, an interpreter was eventually located and prosecutors then said they needed to apply for special measures for the alleged victim "due to extreme fear of the defendant".

After several more reviews, on May 11 special measures were granted without issue and the contest was listed for hearing on May 18.

But despite all parties being present in a courtroom equipped with live-link facilities, the contest again fell apart.

On investigation, it emerged that the prosecution had again failed to book an interpreter.

District Judge John Meehan allowed one more week for the prosecution to get its file in order and set a contest date with all matters in hand.

On return yesterday, Judge Meehan said: "This case is listed because the contest fell apart last week.

"The prosecution were unable to show they had arranged for an interpreter, despite the language difficulties of the alleged victim."

The prosecution advised June 22 had been finalised as the agreed contest date.

Judge Meehan, examining the case papers, said: "I am checking to see what other ways the prosecution can manage not to proceed with the case on the next occasion. It is very evident there have been three failures to date.

"I make this perfectly clear - the prosecution will not be afforded any further adjournments.

"I want it absolutely understood, everything must be ready to proceed on the next occasion."

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