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Victim of retired surgeon tells court he was given 'a life sentence of pain'

Patrick Cusack told the court he had not had a proper night’s sleep in 45 years.

Retired surgeon Michael Shine at the Central Criminal Courts
Retired surgeon Michael Shine at the Central Criminal Courts
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

ONE OF THE victims of a retired surgeon who groped seven boys over thirty years has told a court he was given “a life sentence of pain”.

Michael Shine (86) of Ballsbridge, Dublin had denied twelve charges of indecent assault and one charge of sexual assault committed during medical examinations at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth and at two private clinics in Drogheda on dates between 1971 and 1992.

On day 17 of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a jury of two women and eight men returned guilty verdicts, having deliberated for just over six hours.

Reading his victim impact statement today in court, Patrick Cusack (56), who waived his right to anonymity, said Shine had handed him “a life sentence of pain, hurt, anguish and shame”.

Cusack told the court he had not had a proper night’s sleep in 45 years until the guilty verdict was announced two weeks ago. He said that having received the justice he has wanted since 1974, he could now truly say that what happened was not his fault.

A second man who also read his own victim impact statement aloud said that Shine had no understanding of what he had done. The man said he does not trust many people as a result of the abuse he suffered.

“I am aware that under a facade, people can have evil motives. He [Shine] taught me that,” the man said.

Detective Garda Seamus Nolan told Cathleen Noctor SC, prosecuting, that Shine indecently assaulted six boys aged between 11 and 15 on dates ranging from 1971 to 1988. He said the sole count of sexual assault related to an incident in 1992 when the injured party was aged 16.

Detective Garda Nolan said that during the trial, a medical expert gave evidence that there was no medical basis for the behaviour described by the seven men.

The prospect of dying in prison 

Shine has three previous convictions for indecent assault relating to two complainants who were both aged 15 in 1975; he was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment for these in late 2017. These convictions are currently under appeal.

Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, said his client was attacked on the steps of the courthouse today and liquid was thrown at him.

He said that Shine’s “health is precarious” and that a prison sentence would have a profound impact on a man of his age.

Hartnett said that Shine faced the prospect of dying in prison without the comfort of his friends and family. He asked the judge to consider not imposing a custodial sentence and asked that he take into account that the cases occurred a long time ago.

Judge Martin Nolan remanded Shine on continuing bail and adjourned the matter for sentencing to next Monday. 

‘No memory whatsoever’

The court heard that the first complainant told the court that Shine groped his genitals during two appointments in 1988 following surgery on his finger when he was aged 15. He said that during the first examination Shine rested his head on his chest and that his breathing became more intense.

Another man said that Shine prevented his father from being present for an examination following surgery on his testicles in 1985 when he was aged 13. He said that Shine placed his hand on his penis during the exam and began to move his foreskin up and down.

A third witness attended hospital due to tearing his foreskin during sexual intercourse when he was aged 16 in 1992.

The man said that during an examination on his injury, Shine began to masturbate his penis up and down for five to ten minutes, ending with him squeezing its top.

The fourth complainant in the case said that he was hit by a car during the summer of 1972 when he was aged 14 and that he required surgery on his right knee. He said that Shine would come to his room in the evening to play chess with him during his stay in hospital.

The man said that during a follow up appointment Shine began “playing with” and “fondling” his genitals and stroking his penis, telling him that “you could tell a lot this way”. He said he did not think that Shine ever examined his knee.

A fifth man said that Shine inserted a gloved finger into his anus and his other hand began “palpating” his genitals during an examination in 1974 when he was aged around 11. He said that afterwards Shine patted him on the head and told him he was a “good boy”.

The man said that during a later stay in hospital, Shine would examine his wound from surgery and that every time he did so he would go on to “palpate” his penis and scrotum. He said that Shine did this every day up until the day he was discharged from hospital.

A sixth man said that Shine performed surgery on his appendix at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 1971 when he was aged 13. He said that during a follow-up examination, Shine began fondling his testicles and stroking his penis, saying that he needed to check that nothing was damaged.

The final complainant in the case said that Shine placed a paper towel on his stomach before he took his penis in his hand and began to masturbate it during an examination in 1975 when he was aged 13. He said that this continued for around 10 to 15 minutes.

Shine denied doing anything improper during examinations with any of the complainants and said he has “no memory whatsoever” of ever treating any of them. He also said that he never played chess.

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Brian Hoban

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