Friday 26 May 2017

Vendetta against driver led to sex-assault claim, court told

Gordon Deegan

A retired truck driver yesterday told a court that he had been slandered by a false claim of sexual assault from a woman to whom he was delivering building supplies.

James Kennedy, of Carrowduff, Kilshanny, Co Clare, brought the claim of defamation against Eileen Kierse, of Clancy Park, Ennis. Ms Kierse denies slandering Mr Kennedy.

Married father-of-four Mr Kennedy told Ennis Circuit Court that the trauma he suffered as a result of the Ms Kierse's allegation "has been absolutely unbelievable".

Mr Kennedy said he has suffered high blood pressure as a result of the allegation, which affected his sight and that he had to retire from driving.

He is now receiving disability benefit.

Counsel for Mr Kennedy, Donal O'Rourke, said that Ms Kierse had made the malicious allegation of sexual assault as part of a vendetta against Mr Kennedy because of continuing trouble between Mr Kennedy and Ms Kierse's son, Johnathan, at their Shannonside Building Supplies workplace in Ennis.

But Ms Kierse told the court: "I told the truth. James Kennedy attacked me in my own home."

Mr Kennedy stated that he made two deliveries to Ms Kierse's home in April 2004.

Mr O'Rourke said that Ms Kierse did not make her allegation to Mr Kennedy's employers until August 2004 when called in by them to explain why there was trouble between Mr Kennedy and her son.

Mr O'Rourke put it to Mr Kennedy that Ms Kierse is alleging that during his delivery, he was at the bottom of the stairs and asked her to jump into his arms.

Mr O'Rourke said that she also alleges that Mr Kennedy then followed her into the kitchen, pinned her up against the sink by grabbing her arms and pushing himself against her, making a lewd comment.

Mr O'Rourke said that Ms Kierse also alleges that she threw Mr Kennedy off before he followed her and pinned her against the door when Ms Kierse grabbed a hammer nearby to protect herself.

She also grabbed a mobile phone, threatening to call the gardai.

Sacked

In response, Mr Kennedy said: "It is all false. It never happened."

He said: "There is no basis for what she is saying. Absolutely none."

Mr O'Rourke said that Ms Kierse only made the same complaint of sexual assault against Mr Kennedy to the gardai in February 2005 after her son was sacked by his employer over continuing indiscipline.

Mr Kennedy confirmed that he was interviewed by the gardai on foot of Ms Kierse's complaint and a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), but the DPP decided that no prosecution should arise.

Ms Kierse told the court that she didn't make the complaint immediately as she wanted to protect her 10-month-old marriage and the jobs of her two sons, who both worked at Shannonside Building Supplies.

She said: "It is very serious what I endured. I just wanted to forget it. I had no witnesses."

Shannonside director Shane Fell said that in August 2004, Ms Kierse told him that she had been cornered in her kitchen by Mr Kennedy where he made some lewd remark.

Mr Fell said Mr Kennedy denied this and Mr Fell advised Ms Kierse to contact the gardai.

Counsel for Ms Kierse, Yvonne Quinn, said that her client was relying on a defence of qualified privilege in defending the claim.

However, Mr O'Rourke said that the defence doesn't arise when an allegation is made with malice.

Judge James O'Donohoe reserved judgement in the case until next week.

Irish Independent

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