A young woman wept in court as the trial judge directed the jury to find the man she accused of sexually assaulting her as a child not guilty of the offence.
Defence barrister Sinead Behan submitted in a legal application in the absence of the jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the complainant had linked the alleged incident to a specific occasion when others were present and specific elements including the breaking of glass and the presence in the house of a man with a rope.
However, Ms Behan said that other evidence in the case showed it would have been impossible for the alleged sexual assault to have occurred at that particular time. Details that could identify the complainant cannot be published.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, “In fairness to the complainant she was specific and her account went into detail.”
However, the judge agreed with the defence submission that there was a critical contradiction within the state’s own case and he said that this critically impaired the prosecution case.
“There are two pillars contradicting themselves that cannot be reconciled,” he said.
The judge then directed the jury to find the 46-year-old man not guilty of sexually assaulting the child when she was aged around seven years old on March 1 2009 at her home in County Cork.
The defendant had been in a relationship with the complainant’s mother at the time.
The complainant gave evidence of going down at night to get a glass of water and that the defendant was nice to her and called her over to him.
She said he kissed her on the lips and put his hand on her vagina and she went back to bed. She said he came to her door and said that what happened would be their secret.
When gardaí investigating the complaint interviewed the accused, he said, “I always looked after her like the father she never had… I was never alone with her. I am physically sick listening to this. It is f***ing up my head. It never happened at all. I never kissed or touched her or anything like that. I know I would never interfere with a child.
“I don’t know why she is coming out with this. I am absolutely bewildered. It is a very sick and vile statement.”