A MAN at the centre of a landmark €4.7m sex abuse award case has undergone a brain scan to help determine whether he is suffering from dementia which could lead to the award being set aside.
Last November, retired company director Joseph Carrick was ordered to pay €4m to Jacqueline O'Toole and €700,000 to her cousin Geraldine Nolan after two separate High Court juries found he raped them when they were children.
Mr Carrick (72), Carysfort Woods, Blackrock, Co Dublin, was not represented during those trials claiming he was unable to pay his solicitors and he also did not represent himself.
After the trials, he got new lawyers and two weeks they told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne there may be an application to have the awards set aside as there were serious questions as to his mental capacity now and at the time of the trials.
The court heard he may be suffering from dementia and his lawyers needed time to submit an affidavit from a psychiatrist who had examined him.
The matter was adjourned until yesterday when the court was told that the psychiatrist had said in his affidavit that there was evidence Mr Carrick was suffering from global cognitive impairment.
However, an MRI brain scan had also been carried out just this week and more time was needed to allow the psychiatrist examine the results of that scan, John Rogers SC, for Mr Carrick said.
Rudi Newman BL, for the two women who were in court yesterday, said his reading of the psychiatrist's affidavit was that there was evidence of depression (in Carrick). There was no allegation of dementia but that such depression may lead to dementia, counsel said.
Mr Newman said his side wanted the opportunity for their own psychiatrist to examine him as well as access to his medical records.
Ms Justice Dunne said it was clear there would have to be a hearing to determine whether he had mental capacity at the time of the trial and then the court would have to then deal with any application to set aside the awards which might then mean there would have to be a re-trial.
She refused an application from Mr Newman for an order that a payment be made out from a €120,000 pension fund in Irish Life held by Carrick and which was frozen along with his assets and bank accounts after the awards were made. She said she would not do so because a payout at this stage might have tax and other implications which would then have to be dealt with if there was a re-trial.
She however continued the freezing orders on his assets and adjourned the matter for three weeks to allow Mr Carrick's psychiatrist, who the court heard is away for the next two weeks, to examine the MRI scan.