Trial begins of man accused of abusing his two nieces

by Gazette Reporter

A Dublin man has gone on trial accused of abusing his two nieces in the 1970s.

The 62-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denies molesting one niece from when she eight years old and up to the age of 12. He also denies molesting the younger sister when she was aged around five.

Opening the case before the jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Philip Rahn BL, prosecuting, said that it is the prosecution’s case that both complainants, who are sisters, were indecently assaulted by their uncle.

Mr Rahn said the abuse is alleged to have started in 1972 when the accused was a teenager and living with his mother at an address in Dublin.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty to ten counts of indecently assaulting one niece at his then address and in other locations in Dublin on dates between January 4, 1972 and January 3, 1979.

He has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecently assaulting the younger niece at his then address and in a car in Dublin on dates between November 6, 1975 and November 5, 1977.

Giving evidence before the jury, the older of the two sisters told Mr Rahn that when she was around eight years old she began to visit her grandmother’s house most Sundays for tea along with her mother and her younger brother and sister.

She said while she was there, her uncle would bring her up into the loft of a hay barn of an adjoining farm. She said her uncle would pull up the ladder so that she had no way to get back down.

The woman said the defendant would touch her privates over her clothes and would “rub up against” her. She told the jury that she did not know how many times this occurred, but that it was definitely more than once and occurred maybe three or four times.

She said her uncle gave her lifts on a motorbike when she was aged around eight or 12. She said he told her to put her hands down his trousers or she would fall off and that if she refused, he would wobble the bike.

She said he took her for driving lessons in a car in the Dublin mountains during which she would have to sit on his knee and steer the wheel. She said that her uncle’s trousers would be “open” and on the final occasion his penis was “out”.

The woman told the jury that on the final such occasion she old her uncle that she did not want do it anymore and tried to get out of the car. She said that when she tried to leave the car, her uncle said that if she got out of the car he would shoot her.

Paul Greene SC, defending, told this complainant that it was his client’s position that the incidents she has alleged did not happen.

He put it to her that the means of accessing the loft was not a ladder but fixed iron bars in a wall. She replied that she remembered a ladder.

She agreed with Mr Greene that she went to gardaí with her sister in 2015 to make the allegations. She said she never discussed the contents of her garda statement with her sister, but that she would have “sporadically” spoken about the events surrounding the case before going to gardaí.

She rejected a suggestion by counsel that it was in the context of there being an army range in the Dublin mountains that his client said that she would be shot if she got out of the car.

The trial continues today before Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and a jury.

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