A boy alleged to have been raped and sexually abused by various family members has told a trial that he was given pills by his parents to make him fall asleep.
During cross-examination today, the now 11-year-old boy told the trial of three men and four women who are accused of sexually abusing three children that he thinks he was given these pills “every second night”.
The 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.
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 18th, 2014 and April 28th, 2016.
The 34-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 18th, 2014 and April 28th, 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 18th, 2014 and April 28th, 2016.
The younger of the two main male complainants gave evidence today via the recordings of two specialist garda interviews, which took place in August 2017, that his parents, the 48-year-old accused man and that man's partner had all touched his privates.
The then eight-year-old boy went on to say that his father, the 48-year-old accused man and the 27-year-old accused man had all anally raped him.
The court heard these interviews took place after the boy had been taken into care in April 2016 and was living with his foster parents.
During cross-examination today, Conor Devally SC, defending the 27-year-old accused man, asked the now 11-year-old boy if his sister had helped him write in a notebook which he read from during the second specialist garda interview.
The boy answered that his sister helped him with a few of the words, but that he had written it.
Mr Devally asked the boy why he had not mentioned the “bad things” the boy said his client did until the second interview with gardaí. The boy replied that was probably because he did not think of them during the first interview.
Counsel asked the boy if he had ever got “a dose of medicine” while living with his parents. The boy replied that he and his younger siblings would go to bed earlier than his sister and older brother, but that they would still be awake when his older siblings went to bed.
The boy said that his parents would give them pills to “make us fall asleep”. He said he thinks this happened “every second night” and that he felt “a bit strange” after taking the medicine.
Mr Devally asked the boy what he remembered about receiving text messages. The boy said he thought there were messages telling his sister to run away and that he thought his older brother ran away, but his uncle found him in a field and gave him some pills to make him fall asleep in a car.
The boy said his sister was told to run away, and he was to run away later too. He said he got those instructions by message, that his older brother sent them and that no one else messaged him.
Mr Devally asked the boy how he had learned the story about his older brother being found in a field. The boy replied he thought his older brother had messaged his sister, and she told him about it.
Counsel asked if the boy had got that information before the second interview with gardaí in August 2017. The boy replied that he did not think so.
The boy told Seamus Clarke SC, defending the 32-year-old accused woman, that he had a memory of his client telling him to “do sex” with his sister and to kiss his sister's privates and bum.
Mr Clarke asked the boy if it was a “fuzzy memory”. The boy agreed that it was.
Counsel said that his client has told gardaí she did not say those things and asked the boy if it was possible he could have made a mistake.
“Probably,” the boy replied.
Eilis Brennan SC, prosecuting, asked the boy if it was his memory that the 32-year-old woman had asked him those things. The boy said that it was.
The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.