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Monday 22 September 2014

Dana's description of indecent assault allegations on TV prompted 'victim' to go public, court hears

Shane Hickey in London

Published 16/07/2014 | 15:46

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Dana Rosemary Scallon and her brother John Brown (inset)
Dana Rosemary Scallon and her brother John Brown (inset)

A TV interview by then-presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon in which she described allegations against a member of her family as lies prompted a woman who says she was a victim of indecent assault to go public, a court has heard.

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An Irish Independent journalist who brought the allegations public for the first time told the trial of John Brown (60) today that the alleged victim had been a “reluctant witness” up until a point where Ms Scallon dismissed the claims on TV in a series of interviews.

Today is the sixth day in the trial of Brown for five counts of indecent assault against two children, one under the age of 13 and another under the age of 16 at various dates throughout the 1970s.  Brown - with an address at Lilly Hill Road, Bracknell in Berkshire - has denied all of the claims.

Greg Harkin, the north-west correspondent of the Irish Independent, told the court that he had initially made contact with the first alleged victim in October 2011 in the midst of the presidential race.

She had told him of allegations against Brown but wanted to discuss the matter with her husband before deciding whether to go public. 

Mr Harkin put the allegations to Ms Scallon while she was on the campaign trail but she refused to comment.  Some 10 hours later, she made the first of a series of public comments on national television when, at the end of a Primetime debate, she said there had been “vile and malicious” allegations made about her family but did not explain what they were.

“The whole nation thought it was bizarre,” Mr Harkin said under cross-examination.

Ms Scallon subsequently gave a more extensive interview to TV3 in which she again said the allegations were lies.  Mr Harkin said that the first alleged victim was very angry as a result.

“I think at that point she felt she had been made out to be a liar on TV so she felt she had to respond to that,” he said.  The details of the allegations were published in the Irish Independent a few days later.

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