The fourteen-year-old Kerry boy accused of raping a four-year-old was found not guilty today by direction of the trial judge on the fourth day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Seán Gillane, prosecution senior counsel, closed the case for the prosecution today and the jury of six men and six women were then asked to return to the jury room for a legal submission in their absence.
Defence senior counsel Colman Cody applied to Ms Justice Eileen Creedon to direct the jury to find the accused not guilty by direction.
Mr Cody argued that it would have been unsafe to put the case to the jury. He submitted that there were conflicts in the prosecution’s own evidence that were fatal to their case.
The jury had heard from the complainant, who is now aged six, in a video recorded interview and in evidence that he gave by video link to the court room. They also heard evidence from his parents and the defendant’s mother of the first complaint by the four-year-old of an alleged incident.
Initially, the child said the 14-year-old defendant had put his penis in his own younger brother’s mouth but later said the defendant had put his penis in his (four-year-old complainant) mouth.
Mr Cody also referred to other conflicts in the evidence such as that concerning when the alleged incident occurred.
Mr Gillane SC for the prosecution submitted that these were matters upon which the jury could decide and reach a verdict. Ms Justice Creedon considered the defence application and then brought the jury back and directed them to enter a verdict of not guilty by direction of the trial judge.
The accused, who is now 16, wept in court as he was found not guilty and was comforted by his mother who had given evidence earlier the trial.
The defendant’s mother had been childminder for the complainant and his sister. On December 14 2018 he alleged that he had played a magic game in the defendant’s bedroom and that the defendant put his penis in his mouth.
The accused was asked about the allegation later that same night and his mother said he immediately went white, totally denied it and said he would take a lie-detector test.
The four-year-old boy’s mother gave evidence in the case of when she brought her son up to his room on the night of the alleged incident on December 14 2018 at the home of the childminder. He is now aged six.
She said she was on the phone to the defendant’s mother and was on speakerphone.
Initially, she said that her four-year-old son claimed that the defendant “put his willy in (defendant’s own younger brother’s) mouth.”
She told her son that she was talking to the defendant’s mother on speakerphone and she said the defendant said it did not happen. The witness said that her son then said the defendant had “put his willy in his mouth.”
The witness said the defendant’s mother came over that night and went up to the four-year-old’s room with her and put her son on her lap and consoled him and asked him to tell her what happened. The witness said her son was very comfortable with the defendant’s mother.
The defendant’s mother said afterwards that night that she did not think it added up and that the time line did not make sense as she had been upstairs doing jobs at the relevant time.
The complainant’s mother said the defendant’s mother called around to the house again the next morning.
“I remember thinking, as bad as I was feeling she must have been feeling horrible as well. I remember thinking, should I give her a hug or what way should I greet her?” she said.