Saturday 1 October 2016

Brother and sister abused by family friend awarded €350,000 in High Court

Tim Healy

Published 01/02/2013 | 17:37

A BROTHER and sister were awarded a total of €350,000 today against a next-door neighbour and family friend who sexually abused them as children.

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And a High Court judge said it was extremely hurtful to the family of the brother and sister when the DPP did not give a reason why a decision not to prosecute the neighbour was made.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty made his comments when he made the award over the abuse which happened when were still at primary school.

Stressing that he was not making observations behind the DPP's back, Mr Justice Moriarty said there was no doubt from the evidence the pair and their family were demoralised and bewildered when it was indicated no prosecution was to be brought and, according to practice no reason was given.

Mr Justice Moriarty said it may be there were strong and compelling legal reasons why the DPP was not disposed to initiating a prosecution but it was very hurtful for the family. He noted in the UK and Wales a reason is given in some cases when a decision not to prosecute has been taken.

The court had heard the brother and sister had made statements to the gardai a number of years ago, but the DPP had decided not to bring a prosecution.

The Judge said he sits in the Court of Criminal Appeal and had heard cases of lesser severity.

The now 24-year old man and the 20-year old woman, who cannot be named by order of the court, suffered post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the alleged assaults, the court heard.

The girl was only seven years of age and the boy eleven years old when the abuse started in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Damages, the judge said, must be substantial and reflect the hideous experience the pair had.

He said he was extremely impressed by both of them and described them as articulate, reliable and able, and their evidence was truthful as to the "grim events visited on both of them" which he said contained "dispiriting details of the abuse.".

Awarding the brother €210,000, the judge said his childhood had been gravely and grossly interfered with.

Awarding the sister €140,000, he said she presented as somebody who had made a commendable effort to put the ghastly events behind her.

The woman claimed that on one occasion the neighbour took her for a trip in his car to an isolated field where he carried her over his shoulder to a wooded area and put a blanket on the ground before abusing her.

The brother, who broke down when giving evidence, said the sexual assaults occurred in the early 2000s when he used to cut his neighbour's grass.

He claimed he was brought to a bedroom in his house and told to take off his clothes. It is claimed the next door neighbour then kissed the boy and performed sexual acts on him. The sexual assaults, it is claimed, happened two or three times in his neighbour's house and in other houses and in a car down a country lane.

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