Trial date set for former St. Colmans Abbey principal

November 19, 2018

The trial of a former Newry primary school principal and Christian Brother accused of 41  charges of historical sexual abuse will begin in March next year, a court has ruled. 

Eighty two year old Brother Paul Dunleavy, whose address was given as the Christian Brothers Province Centre on Dublin’s Griffith Avenue, is the former teacher and principal of the now closed St Colman’s Abbey primary school in Newry.

In June this year, Dunleavy pleaded not guilty to 30 counts of indecently assaulting a male, eight counts of gross indecency with or towards a child, two counts of inciting gross indecency with a child and one attempted serious sexual assault of a boy under 16.

The charges relate to nine complainants and cover a period spanning from 1969 to 1974. The court heard that one of the complainants is now deceased.

The ex-principal did not attend Thursday’s hearing at Belfast Crown Court where Judge Geoffrey Miller QC fixed the trial date for March 4 2019. The trial is expected to last four weeks.

Defence barrister Bobbie-Leigh Herdman told the judge she was still awaiting material from third party applications to be disclosed, with one premises in Newry already examined and the barrister awaiting police approval to examine a second building in the city.

Ordering all third party material to be disclosed by November 23,  Judge Miller warned that if the material is not disclosed by that date, “the addressee must attend court in person on Monday, November 26.” 

The judge also ruled that if a response to the defence request to examine the second building had not been received by November 23 “an officer will be before this court on Monday, November 26”.