Sex allegations went public after Dana TV interview, court told
Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30
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.
An Irish Independent journalist who published the claims for the first time told the trial of John Brown (60) that the alleged victim had been a "reluctant witness" up until a point where Ms Scallon dismissed the allegations on TV in a series of interviews.
Yesterday was the sixth day in the trial of Mr 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.
Mr Brown – with an address at Lilly Hill Road, Bracknell in Berkshire, England – has denied all of the claims.
Greg Harkin, the north-west correspondent of the Irish Independent, told the court during cross examination 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 Mr Brown, Ms Scallon's brother, but wanted to discuss the matter with her husband before deciding whether to go public.
Mr Harkin told her that publication of the story would not be possible without her waiving her right to anonymity.
Mr Harkin put the allegations to Ms Scallon while she was on the campaign trail but she refused to comment.
Ten hours later, she made the first of a series of public comments on national television when, at the end of a 'Prime Time' debate, she said there had been "malicious" allegations made about her family but did not explain what they were.
"The whole nation thought it was bizarre," Mr Harkin said in Harrow Crown Court, London.
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.
"That article might never have appeared if it weren't for the TV interview," Mr Harkin said.
The case continues.