Sunday 21 July 2019

Retired surgeon accused of groping boys has 'no memory whatsoever' of complainants, jury told

Michael Shine. Photo: Collins Courts
Michael Shine. Photo: Collins Courts

Brion Hoban

A retired surgeon accused of groping a number of boys in his care said he had “no memory whatsoever” of any of the seven complainants, a jury has heard.

Michael Shine (86) of Ballsbridge, Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 13 charges of indecent assault allegedly committed during medical examinations at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth and at two private clinics in Drogheda.

On the 13th day of the trial, Mr Shine told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that he began working at Lourdes hospital in March of 1964 and continued to do so until 1995.

Mr Shine said he had “no memory whatsoever” of ever treating any of the seven complainants in the case. He denied ever doing anything improper during examinations on any of the seven men.

He said that he had written a paper with a colleague on the frequent mis-diagnosis of infection in cases of testicular torsion. He said that when checking testicles for torsion or cancer, he “examined patients as required, fully as required”.

Mr Shine said it is necessary to touch the testicles during an examination following surgery for testicular torsion. He said it is not necessary to touch the penis, but because it is beside the testicles a doctor cannot really avoid touching it.

He said it was “impossible” that he masturbated a young patient in a hospital bed after operating on him, as he would have been in the children's ward and he would not see any child without a nurse being present.

Mr Hartnett asked Mr Shine what he had to say about Bernadette Sullivan (of the patient advocacy group Dignity 4 Patients) and the “campaign against him”. Mr Shine said that he knew Ms Sullivan as she had been a nurse in the hospital almost all the time he had worked there.

Mr Shine said that Ms Sullivan came to see him as a patient in the 1980s.

He said that at that time insurance companies asked me to examine people injured in road traffic accidents. He said he tended to give them the benefit of every doubt, but that in cases involving complaints of whiplash he knew in his “heart and soul that 90 per cent” were false.

He said that Ms Sullivan's complaints were “over, over the top”. The trial continues tomorrow before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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