Sunday 21 December 2014

I was dumbstruck and astonished by abuse claims, Dana's brother tells jury

Published 19/07/2014 | 02:30

John Brown
John Brown

SEX abuse claims against a brother of Eurovision winner Dana were "malicious allegations" made up to destroy his credibility as a witness in a civil dispute over money, a court has heard.

John Brown is accused of five counts of indecent assault against two girls under the age of 16 at various locations in the 1970s.

The 60-year-old told a jury he had gone through "three years of hell" since he was first made aware of allegations he abused two young girls.

Mr Brown took the witness stand for the first time yesterday to strenuously deny all of the allegations against him.

He said he was "dumbstruck and astonished" when the claims were first put to him in May 2008 during a civil action in the United States.

Mr Brown was due to be a witness in a bitter legal dispute involving the mother and father of the first alleged victim and a third party.

In the middle of his deposition for the case, in which he was answering questions from the attorney of the now-alleged victim's mother and father, a break was called, Harrow Crown Court in England heard.

When the parties returned, Mr Brown told the court that it was put to him for the first time that he had abused their daughter.

He said: "I was dumbstruck – I was absolutely astonished and denied it. I wasn't a party to it (the civil dispute), in the end I wasn't a witness and I didn't attend the hearings."

Martyn Bowyer, representing Mr Brown, asked him what he thought was going on at the time.

Mr Brown said: "They had made malicious allegations against me to destroy my credibility, so effectively I was null and void as a witness."

Mr Bowyer earlier took the defendant through a chronological time-line of his whereabouts and activities throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Under cross-examination yesterday, the father of three repeatedly denied the claims by the two alleged victims, now aged 47 and 53, replying "no" and "absolutely not" when they were put to him individually by barrister Claire Howell.

The first alleged victim, now 47, claims she was groped and sexually assaulted by Mr Brown on two occasions at two different addresses in England, first when she was aged between five and seven, and again when she was aged eight or nine.

Tearful

But Mr Brown, who requested a break after becoming tearful while giving evidence, told the jury he had never been with the girl at the first address and had never been to second address in the 1970s.

He said: "It is absolutely not true. I didn't abuse her."

The second victim claims she was touched by Mr Brown as she slept alongside her sisters on two occasions when she was under the age of 16, first at an address in Northern Ireland and again at her home in England.

Mr Brown claims the first victim and her family have made up the claims because of a civil dispute.

He alleges the second victim was coerced into testifying by the first victim and her family to support their own evidence and ultimately back up their claim in the civil dispute.

Asked why he thought the first victim had brought her claims to police in 2012, he said: "I have no idea.

"It appears she was having some difficulties in her marriage. All I can tell you is I didn't abuse her."

The court had earlier heard claims the allegations had been covered up by Dana and her family to protect the family name and her career.

The prosecution alleges the former Eurovision winner-turned-politician took her brother Mr Brown to see a priest to "cure" him of his urges towards children.

Asked if he had ever gone to see a priest in those circumstances, Mr Brown said: "No, not at all."

He also denied having any conversations with any member of his or the alleged victims' families confessing his inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Brown, of Lilly Hill Road, in Bracknell, Berkshire, denies five counts of indecent assault against two girls under the age of 16 at various locations in the 1970s.

Describing how the allegations had affected him, he said: "The last three years have been hell."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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