Isabel Hayes and Eimear Dodd
Five family members have been convicted of dozens of offences related to the sexual abuse of four child relatives following a Central Criminal Court trial.
The jury in the trial of four men accused of sexual abuse and one woman accused of assisting one of them returned the verdicts on Thursday after 7.5 hours of deliberations.
A 66-year-old man and his three sons, aged 38, 40 and 41, were all charged with numerous counts of sexually abusing four family members, who were all children at the time.
The 63-year-old wife of the oldest man was also on trial charged with assisting one of her sons who allegedly anally raped her granddaughter and assaulting the same child.
The three-week trial heard that the alleged offences occurred between 1999 and 2005 in various locations around the country. The complainants and the accused are all part of an extended family.
The four complainants were the oldest couple's daughter, their granddaughter and their two nephews.
The jury found the 66-year-old man guilty of 24 charges including two charges of anally raping his granddaughter and 22 charges against his nephew – 12 charges of anal rape and ten charges of oral rape.
The man had pleaded not guilty to 25 charges. One charge of assaulting his nephew was withdrawn by the trial judge.
The jury found the 41-year-old man guilty of 19 counts of raping his sister, four counts of sexually assaulting her and three counts of orally raping her. He was also found guilty of two charges of anally raping his niece and one count of raping her.
He was acquitted of two counts of raping his sister on unknown dates in 2004 and 2005.
The jury found the 38-year-old man guilty on 20 counts of raping his sister, four counts of sexually assaulting her and six counts of oral rape. It acquitted him of two counts of raping his sister.
He was also found guilty to two counts of anally raping his niece and two counts of anally raping his male cousin.
The jury found the 40-year-old man guilty of 20 counts of rape, five counts of sexual assault and three counts of oral rape. It acquitted him of three charges of raping his sister on dates between 2004 and 2005.
They found the 63-year-old woman guilty to assisting one of her sons – the 38-year-old man who allegedly anally raped her granddaughter – and one count of assaulting her granddaughter.
Another count of assaulting her nephew was withdrawn by the trial judge. She had pleaded not guilty to the three charges.
The five defendants made no reaction as the verdicts were handed down in court.
Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring thanked the jurors for their service and excused them from jury duty for 10 years as a mark of the court's appreciation for their work.
She noted this was a “difficult case” and the evidence heard was “not pleasant”. She told jurors the 66-year-old man is currently serving a 16-year sentence for sexually abusing his daughter, who became pregnant with his child when she was just 17.
The judge said the work done by jurors is important and encouraged jurors to “make sure people you know answer their jury service summons, however inconvenient”.
Ms Justice Ring directed the preparation of victim impact statements and a number of reports in relation to some of the defendants. She remanded the 66-year-old man and the 41-year-old man in custody for sentencing.
Ms Justice Ring remanded the remaining three defendants on continuing bail. She directed the 38-year-old man and 40-year-old man to sign on at their local garda station four days a week.
Justice Ring directed these three defendants to have no contact directly or indirectly with the complainants. She adjourned the matter to July 17th for mention, when a date for sentence hearing will be confirmed.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.