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06 Dec 2021

Longford man to face retrial on alleged indecent assault charges of nephew

Longford Courthouse.

A Longford man is to face a retrial over alleged historical indecent assault charges.

A Criminal Circuit Court judge has approved an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to seek a retrial of a Co Longford man over allegations of historical child sex abuse of his nephew.

The 47-year-old had initially stood trial at the January sessions of Longford Circuit Criminal Court accused of indecently assaulting his nephew on eight separate occasions during the late 198os.

The jury had been directed by Judge Keenan Johnston to find the defendant not guilty on one of the counts after legal argument was heard by both sides.

Following further submissions tendered by both the prosecution and defence, Judge Johnston last week announced he would be discharging the jury on the remaining seven counts.

In doing so, he exempted those sitting on the jury from being called to carry out similar duties for the next five years.

He consequently remanded the accused on continuing bail until last Friday.

When the case returned and in the wake of consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Counsel for the State Shane Geraghty announced a full retrial was being applied for.

Judge Johnston acceded to that request, remanding the defendant on continuing bail until April 30 in advance of a trial getting underway the following day.

The father of two had pleaded not guilty to all of the charges which occurred at St Michael's Road, Longford between August 1 1987 and July 31 1989 inclusive.

The alleged victim, now aged 38 but at the times of the charges before the court allegedly occurred between his seventh and ninth birthdays, claimed all of the incidents took place inside the confines of his grandparents' house.

"I would go in and he (defendant) would be on the bed," he said.

"He put his hand down my trousers and started feeling the top of my private parts.

"I knew it didn't feel right."

The alleged victim said on each occasion, the abuse would last for no more than four to five minutes while no one else was in the house.

The alleged victim, who has battled substance and drug addiction in recent years, claimed he later stayed with his uncle at a bedsit he was occupying in Dalston, North London several years later.

However, he claimed no abuse took place either then or in the intervening years that followed.

He conceded to suffering a short term memory loss around a year ago but insisted his facilities were now back in full working order.

Counsel for the defence Des Dockery SC said given the 16 year gap between when the last alleged incident happened and when he made a statement to gardai in September 2014, the charges his client was being accused of simply did not occur.

In his memorandum of interview with gardai in April 2016, the accused man admitted to being openly gay and having "gay experiences" but flatly rejected the charges which had been levelled against him.

"No, I definitely did not," he told Detective Garda Damien McGovern. "Not in one million years."

The defendant said he believed the charges were little more than "a plot" involving his nephew and the accused man's youngest brother.

He claimed his nephew had been a witness to an assault allegedly carried out by the accused man's brother on another man and effectively "put up" his nephew to make the allegations against him in a bid to expose the victim as a liar.

The court was later told however that the alleged assault took place on October 12 2014, more than a month after the alleged victim first made a statement of complaint to gardai.

It was also revealed the complainant had been a witnesss to an incident of suspected criminal damage at a house which once again involved the same man and brother of the defendant.

That led Mr Dockery to imply there had been an “unhappy history” to the case with tensions rife between his client's family and the defendant's stepfather at the time.

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