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Girl tells Munster trial that she does not think two of the accused did anything to her

The evidence was heard in the trial of three men and four women accused of sexually abusing three children between 2014 and 2016.

Image: PA

Updated Jun 1st 2021, 7:24 PM

A GIRL HAS told the trial of three men and four women accused of sexually abusing three children that she does not think two of the women did anything.

The now 12-year-old girl gave evidence during cross-examination that she does not think the 32-year-old accused woman touched her privates.

The girl later said that she might have made the same mistake about her grandmother and thinking back she did not remember her grandmother doing anything.

The seven accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, include the parents, grandmother and aunts and uncles of the three main child complainants. The accused range in ages from 27 to 57 and live in various locations in Munster.

The Central Criminal Court heard that both parents are also accused of wilfully neglecting two of their younger children.

A 32-year-old woman, who is the partner of the children’s 27-year-old uncle, has pleaded not guilty to four counts, including sexual assault and sexual exploitation at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

The 57-year-old maternal grandmother of the three child complainants has pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting the girl by touching her genitals at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

The female complainant gave evidence yesterday, via recordings of specialist garda interviews from August 2017 which were played before the court, that her parents and other members of her family had sexually abused her.

During cross-examination via video-link today, Seamus Clarke SC, defending the 32-year-old accused woman, said to the girl that she had told gardaí that his client and her partner had taken photos of the girl and her brother having sex.

Clarke asked the girl if she might have made a mistake about his client being there. The girl replied yes and that she thought it was just his client’s partner.

Counsel said that the girl had told gardaí his client had touched her privates and his client said she did not do that. The girl replied that she might have made a mistake on that.

The girl said that now she was remembering it more, she did not think the 32-year-old accused woman was “doing it” and that she did not think the accused woman was “that much involved”.

Maria Brosnan BL, defending the girl’s grandmother, asked the girl if it was possible if she had made the same mistake about her client that she had made about the 32-year-old accused woman.

The girl replied yes, because she was now thinking back and she cannot actually remember her grandmother doing anything.

The girl told Conor Devally SC, defending her 27-year-old uncle, that in her second interview with gardaí she had papers on which she had written “all the things they did to me” so she could read it out.

She said she wrote this between the first and second interviews and that she remembered writing it.

The girl agreed with counsel that she remembered being given cough medicine or some “dose” of medicine as a family. She said it came in a tablet or in a bottle and that it would make everyone go to sleep quickly.

She said she was given that medicine “often”. She said either her mother or father would give her it, but it was mostly her father.

Devally asked why she did not mention his client to gardaí in earlier meetings and only on the last occasion did she mention his client having any involvement. The girl answered she thought it just slipped her mind.

Counsel told the girl that his client says he did not do any of the bad things she says happened to her.

Mark Nicholas SC, defending her father, told the girl that his client denies touching her private, putting his private in her private, sending photographs to her or messaging her telling her not to tell anyone.

Counsel asked the girl if she remembered an occasion in which she jumped on her foster father and asked him to play, he said to get off and he pushed her off, which she was not happy with, and she told him she was going to tell her foster mother that he had slapped her.

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The girl replied that she did not remember that happening.

The girl told Dean Kelly SC, defending her mother, that she went to live with her foster parents in April 2016. She agreed they were “kind people” and that she liked living with them from the start.

She said that a holiday she went on shortly after beginning to live with them was the first holiday she had ever been on. She said she remembered getting a tablet the first Christmas she was with them and said it was from Santa.

Kelly told the girl that his client says the things the girl described during her interview, such as her mother touching her and being present while others touched her, did not happen.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.

The 56-year-old father of the three main child complainants has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts including rape, anal rape, oral rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and wilfully neglecting a child at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

The 33-year-old mother of the three main child complainants has pleaded not guilty to 25 counts including sexual assault, sexual exploitation and wilfully neglecting a child at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

The mother and father have also pleaded not guilty to wilfully neglecting two other boys at a location in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

A 35-year-old woman, who is the sister of the children’s mother, has pleaded not guilty to three counts, including sexually assaulting the girl and sexually assaulting one of the boys at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

A 48-year-old man, who is the partner of the 35-year-old woman, has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts including rape, anal rape, oral rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

A 27-year-old man, who is the brother of the children’s mother, has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts including rape, oral rape, anal rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation at locations in Munster on unknown dates between August 18, 2014 and April 28, 2016.

About the author:

Brion Hoban

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