THE trial judge in the case against a 45-year-old Cork man on trial accused of raping his niece when she was aged nine or ten decided to direct the jury to find him not guilty yesterday.
This decision by Ms Justice Carmel Stewart followed extensive legal argument by defence senior counsel Alice Fawsitt on Friday.
Ms Justice Stewart had reserved judgment on the submissions until yesterday.
The judge agreed to the defence application to direct the jury to find the defendant not guilty on all counts — one of rape and two of sexual assault.
When the jury of seven men and five women returned to the Central Criminal Court sitting at Court 6 at the Anglesea Street Courthouse in Cork, she told the foreman of the jury that following the legal argument she was directing to him to enter the finding of not guilty by direction of the trial judge opposite each of the three charges.
The judge thanked the jurors who had been sworn in to hear evidence in the case last Tuesday.
The defendant has been found not guilty of raping, and two counts of sexually assaulting, his niece when she was aged between 7 and 12 years old.
During her evidence, the complainant had said she was nine or then years old when the alleged rape occurred.
The complainant had testified, “He raped me… He told me to bend over the bed.
“That is when he pulled down the back of my pants and put his penis into me. I didn’t know what was going on. I knew it was wrong. He told me to shush. That is when I ran out of the room,” she said.
She said they had been playing piggybacks in her grandmother’s house before the disputed incident occurred. She gave evidence of her uncle putting his hand on her vagina, and he had faced two sexual assault charges in respect of those claims.
Questioned by gardaí, it was put to the defendant, “You pushed your penis into her vagina,” and he replied, “No, I did not. Put what I said there on the form as well [the interview was also being recorded in writing]. No, I did not. I did not do anything to that girl. That is all lies.”
The 45-year-old denied all counts — one of rape and two of sexual assault — that relate to dates between 2001 and 2006 when the complainant was aged from 7 to 12 years.