The new courts complex

A MAJOR incest and child neglect trial is due to begin tomorrow in which six children will give evidence against their father.

The Roscommon man is accused of 32 counts of incest and neglect against his children and it is the first major sex abuse trial to be heard at the new Criminal Courts of Justice building.

Central to the case will be the children's evidence and detectives say the facilities at the new court for children to give their evidence via video link should help put them at ease.

Special suites for children have been designed on the third floor of the new courts complex by Barnardo's. Nintendo Wiis, DVD players, books and toys are available and gardaí and staff with specialist training will be on hand to help deal with traumatised children.

The six children range in age from 11 to 20. The trial could last three weeks. The abuse is alleged to have taken place over a period of four years during the past decade when the children were aged between four and 15.

The new courts complex features a central round hall four times the size of that in the Four Courts and is seven storeys high. The complex became fully operational two weeks ago. It hears all criminal cases in Dublin, ranging from district court remand hearings to the Court of Criminal Appeal and including the Circuit Criminal Court and the Central Criminal Court. It is expected to hear up to 200,000 cases a year.