Charges of sexual assault against comedian Al Porter were dropped yesterday at Dublin District Court. Porter pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against him of sexually assaulting a young man at a Dublin venue three years ago. 26 year-old Porter, who was charged under his real name, Alan Kavanagh, said he had “always denied any wrongdoing in the case.”
Yesterday was the Tallaght native’s third time before the court, which heard that the Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP) was withdrawing the case. Judge Hughes was told that the court could now “strike out” the charge. No reason was given publicly for the charges being dropped.
The order preventing the media from naming Al Porter was lifted yesterday, following an application on behalf of eight media sources, including RTE. Details of the location and date where the incident occurred cannot be named.
Barrister Shane English, at a previous hearing, told the court that the law does not grant anonymity for someone accused of sexual assault unless naming them would also jeopardise the victim’s anonymity.
Porter’s solicitor, Michael Staines, said that his client had not looked for anonymity, but that as an officer of the court he was concerned that the victim could be identified by naming Porter.
Judge Hughes agreed to lift the order against naming Porter but enacted a further order to prevent the location and date of the incident being revealed, as there was a concern that if these were speculated about on social media, then the complainant could potentially be identified.
In a short statement outside the court, Porter said he was in total agreement with his identity being shared even before he knew about the withdrawal of the charges.
Flanked by his family, he also stated that he wished to thank his family and friends for their ongoing support during “two very long and anxious years.”
The comedian has previously spoken in interviews about the importance of reporting sexual assault, along with a statement on how he “doesn’t think” he has ever assaulted anyone. Sources close to Porter say that he wants to “start again.” The source told the Irish Sun: “This is the end of a chapter…He wants to get back on stage.”
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