Monday 24 June 2019

Guilty of 44 sexual assault charges

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

A Wexford man has been remanded in custody for sentencing after he was found guilty by unanimous verdict of 44 sexual assault charges involving three brothers.

The man was found not guilty of one charge relating to one of the brothers following the conclusion of the trial last Thursday after more than two weeks of evidence.

The defendant had pleaded not guilty before Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to 45 counts of indecent assault on three brothers at a number of locations from September 1968 to December 1979.

There was one charge in respect of one of the brothers dating back to 1968, 23 charges in respect of a second brother dating back to between 1966 and 1971, and 21 in respect of a third brother dating from 1975 to 1979.

When the trial before Judge Barry Hickson resumed on Tuesday morning last, prosecuting counsel Marjorie Farrell, along with defence counsel John Peart, gave their charges to the jury. Judge Barry Hickson gave his charge, which lasted almost two days, before the jury retired to consider a verdict.

After deliberations of a little over an hour the jury returned a guilty verdict on 44 of the charges with a not guilty verdict on one charge.

Judge Hickson told the jury they were free to go, thanking them for their service and dedication in what was a lengthy trial.

Defence counsel's application for the defendant to be remanded on bail to allow him get his affairs in order was rejected by Judge Hickson. The judge pointed out that this was a re-trial and that the defendant had considerable time to get his affairs in order. He remanded the defendant in custody to Wednesday December 16 for sentencing.

During the course of the evidence to the lengthy trial the three brothers, who knew the defendant very well at the time as they lived near each other growing up, outlined details of the assault that took place. One described the defendant as being the eldest boy in the area at the time, with the rest of the boys a little nervous of him because he was bigger 'and a little bit rough with them'.

He said he would never forget what happened to him but when he started his career he put it to the back of his mind.

'I was very embarrassed and didn't want people to know. I was ashamed and felt I had done something wrong. I didn't want my colleagues to look down on me. I was ashamed and as guilty as hell,' he told the court.

The brothers detailed several instances of abuse over the years, with one of them saying the defendant lured him in with promises of showing him a pet or magic trick.

He said his 'brain couldn't properly digest it and I just accepted it'.

The second brother denied he was putting forward the allegations as 'some form of envy or jealousy' against the defendant because he was successful in a particular sport.

The third brother told of the defendant starting to abuse him by touching his private parts. 'I didn't realise he was molesting me,' said the man.

He said the man abused him on several occasion and on some occasions the accused would bring him to the kitchen where he was wiped down with what the man recalled was 'a dirty dish cloth'.

'I didn't understand what was happening', he said. 'I was a baby. He (the defendant) was an opportunist. Any opportunity he had to get me he got me. He knew exactly what he was doing. I'd describe him as a Pied Piper. I followed him. He would be lovely some days, some days he would be playing with you, cuddling you, throwing you up in the air. He'd confuse you. I trusted him.'

Wexford People