Thursday 14 December 2017

Religious order entitled to more precise details of alleged sexual abuse a man claims he suffered, court rules

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Stock photo

A RELIGIOUS order is entitled to more precise details of alleged sexual abuse a man claims he suffered at the hands of former consultant doctor Michael Shine for a pending legal action, the High Court ruled.

The man has alleged he was abused by when attending medical appointments with Dr Shine in the 1970s, at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth.

The now middle aged man is suing Dr Shine and the Medical Missionaries of Mary who ran the hospital at the time.

He claims the abuse took place in1972 when he attended Dr Shine and at other times which he cannot remember.

It is one of a number of pending cases against the retired doctor who, the court heard, is now in his 80s and living quietly in an apartment in Dublin.

The man claims that the nuns are vicariously liable for the abuse which they were allegedly on notice of.

As part of their defence, the nuns sought an order that he provide more details of the alleged abuse after formal requests for particulars were met with an insufficient response.

Rossa Fanning BL, for the nuns, said the information provided was too sparse to enable his side prepare an adequate defence.  It included an absence of dates and of detail as to what exactly happened to him.

Mr Fanning said this was one of 50-60  pending against Dr Shine and the HSE.

However, this was the first one in which the religious order was defending the case itself because there is pending litigation involving the nuns and their insurance company over liability which has yet to be resolved, counsel said.

Ian Boyle Harper BL, for the man, disputed Mr Fanning's claims that sufficient detail in relation to dates had not been provided and, where the man could recall them, they were provided in the statement of claim.

There was no requirement to go into detail, in advance of trial, of the alleged abuse in relation to the nuns' defence as the the fact that abuse occurred should be sufficient where vicarious liability was being claimed, he said.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty ruled the man should provide more details of the alleged wrongful act.  His view was the nuns were entitled to "a reasonable degree of particularity".

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