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Retired surgeon claims he 'has no memory' of treating those who accused him of indecent assault

Retired surgeon Michael Shine (85) denies eight charges of indecently assaulting teenage boys.

Image: Sasko Lazarov via Rolling News

Updated 5.40pm

A RETIRED SURGEON who denies groping young male patients at a Drogheda hospital has told a jury that he has no memory of treating four of the complainants.

Michael Shine (85) of Wellington Road in Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight charges of indecently assaulting six patients at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and at his private clinic, both in Drogheda, Co Louth, on dates between 1964 and 1991.

The evidence has ended in the trial and lawyers will give their closing speeches to the jury on Tuesday.

In his direct evidence this afternoon Shine told the jury that he would never do anything that would embarrass or upset a patient.

He said that he did not indecently assault any of the complainants and has no memory of treating four of the alleged victims.

The jury has heard that there are no medical records linking three of these complainants to Shine.

The accused accepted that he did treat two of the complainants. He agreed also that there are medical records of him attending to these patients.

He said he remembered treating one of these complainants for undescended testicles in 1974. He said he would have examined the testicles every time this patient came to see him but denied that he ever massaged the base of the patient’s penis.

He said his relationship with this patient was “a perfectly normal doctor-patient” one and added “I treated him with the greatest of respect”.

Under cross-examination from Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, he denied having taken advantage of this patient.

He accepted that he did treat another complainant, sometime around 1976, for an infected ingrowing toenail. The jury has heard that two letters linking this complainant to Shine exist including a letter from him to the patient’s GP.

The accused told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that he examined the glands in the upper part of this patient’s thigh because of the risk of the infection spreading.

Condon put it to him that he had just “made this up” in order to cover up his alleged groping of the boy’s testicles and penis for around two minutes. Shine said he was speaking from “my wide experience of how I’d see this person”.

He said: “From what I wrote in the letter I know what I did for him.” He said he had no memory of this patient apart from the letter.

Before evidence resumed this morning Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury that he was withdrawing the charge in relation to one complainant.

He said that he would direct them to find Shine not guilty of indecently assaulting the 15-year-old boy sometime between 1988 and 1991. Shine was alleged to have groped the boy’s genitalia during an examination of a foot injury.

Motorbike accident

Earlier, a man who claims he was indecently assaulted by the retired surgeon told the  trial he has waited over four decades to say what happened to him.

On the third day of the trial, a second complainant said he was aged around 17 sometime in 1971 when he was injured in a motorbike accident. He was treated at the hospital and attended again as an outpatient sometime later, to have his wound dressing changed.

He said Shine met him in a treatment cubicle. During the treatment the doctor opened his trousers fly, put his hand down his underpants and started to feel his testicles, he said.

“I jumped off the couch, I said either back off or f*ck off,” he testified.

He said a few days later he met his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife, and told her “exactly what happened”.

“She just looked at me in amazement,” he said.

Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, told the witness that his client had no memory of seeing him during this time and put it to him that “nothing untoward” had happened.

The witness replied: “I waited 46 years and I am telling the truth. That man assaulted me. I’m 100% certain of that.”

He denied ever going to a psychiatrist in relation to a civil claim. He said that he contacted the Dignity For Patients group because he wanted “justice for what Dr Shine had done to me”.

A third complainant testified that he was aged 18 in early 1976 when he attended the hospital with injuries from a traffic collision. He was treated for a broken wrist, stitches to the head and a leg and finger injury.

He attended as an outpatient a couple of weeks later and a nurse brought him in to see Shine.

“When I was lying on the bed he started feeling me around the top and stomach. He slipped his hands down and started feeling [my] testicles and penis.

“I told him there was nothing wrong down there and he said, ‘I have to do this’. It went on for a few minutes,” he said.

The witness said that the accused was watching the door during all this, telling the jury: “I knew there was something not right. I didn’t know what to make of him.”

He attended the clinic again a few weeks later and said he again met Shine. He said during treatment the same thing happened until he told the doctor to “get away” and “leave me alone”.

He said he asked the doctor to look at his finger injury but the doctor told him it would be ok. He said his finger is still not right to this day.

Hartnett put it to this witness that the hospital records from 1976 stated that he was treated by consultant MD Sheehan. He said records of an insurance claim from the time taken against the other driver in the crash stated that the other driver’s insurers had arranged for a medical examination in November.

The letter addressed to the complainant, stated that: “Dr Shine will examine you in consultation with Mr Sheehan”. The witness said he couldn’t remember that and stated that he never met Shine apart from the two times he described.

Shine, of Wellington Road, Dublin 4 is accused of committing the indecent assaults at the hospital on unknown dates between 1964 and 1965, 1970 and 1972, 1975 and 1976 and, finally, on an unknown date between 1988 and 1991.

He is also accused of indecently assaulting a male on two occasions in a clinic in Drogheda on unknown dates in 1973 and 1974 and in 1975.

The trial continues before Judge Cormac Quinn and a jury of four men and eight women and is expected to last two weeks.

Comments are closed for legal reasons

Read: Witness tells court he called doctor accused of groping boys a ‘dirty b**tard’

More: Alleged victim of Michael Shine says he received €70,000 in compensation from Drogheda hospital

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Declan Brennan

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