Naas District Court hears of care plan for vulnerable man

Naas Courthouse.     Photo: Tony Keane
Naas District Court heard last Wednesday that a man with a severely low mental capacity, and who is in a wheelchair, and who faces various charges of indecency has a history of involvement with the courts since 1975.

Naas District Court heard last Wednesday that a man with a severely low mental capacity, and who is in a wheelchair, and who faces various charges of indecency has a history of involvement with the courts since 1975.

However, this is the first time that a plan has been developed to deal with his problems by the various State agencies.

That’s according to John Balfe, a Probation Officer who was assigned to the case last Novemebr when Derek Brennan first appeared before the court.

Speaking to Judge Desmond Zaidan at Naas District Court last Wednesday, March 27, Mr. Balfe explained that there was a “lengthy history” to Mr. Brennan’s issues.

Derek Brennan, 56, whose address is listed as 32 The Lawns, Abbeylands, Clane faces seven charges of masturbating or simply exposing himself and touching his genitals on dates between June 4, 2011 and September 1, 2012, in Clane and Naas.

Often, the offences take place in full view of women or school children, and in giving evidence of his arrest at a court sitting last November Srgt. Paul Reilly of Clane Garda Station made it clear he believed that the public “need to be protected from this sort of behaviour”.

Some of these offences took place while he was on bail.

The court heard that Mr. Brennan has had diabetes-related amputations and uses a wheelchair. He also has “very limited intellectual capacity”.

“What’s going on? Is this man curable?” the Judge asked Mr. Balfe.

The Probation Officer explained that Mr. Brennan now has 24-hour supervision, and is on medication, an anti-depressant which also has a side effect of reducing his libido.

“I don’t feel comfortable with dispensing of this today,” the judge said. “I find it appalling.”

John Balfe explained that the current regime was the first comprehensive and multi-agency plan in place to deal with Mr. Brennan’s issues.

“It’s depressing and distressing,” Judge Zaidan noted.

Back in November, the court heard that new care regime has been imposed on Mr. Brennan at that point which has curtailed incidents entirely. He is now under almost 24/7 supervision, which appears to have curtailed his behaviour.

It was agreed that it was best to put the case back for six months. The judge said he wasn’t entirely impressed either with the long term prospects of medication.

“I don’t have the power to force him to take medication,” he explained.