Woman abused as a child sues both her grandparents
A young woman who was sexually assaulted by her grandfather claims her grandmother failed to exercise reasonable care for her safety when she was looking after her, the High Court heard.
The woman, who is in her 20s, is suing both grandparents and also claiming both entered a conspiracy to defeat her claim for damages. She alleges her grandfather transferred three specified properties into the grandmother's name.
When she was aged between nine and 12, the woman was subjected to a large number of sexual assaults by her grandfather at various locations in Ireland and abroad when she was in his care.
The court has granted the woman, who cannot be named by order of the judge, orders directing her grandfather's psychiatric records be given to her legal team. She also won an order directing her grandparents to give details of property transactions.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr said it was a somewhat unusual application where the young woman sought an order directing the grandfather should make discovery of his medical records from two psychiatric institutions.
The abuse involved her grandfather intimately touching and rubbing the area of her private parts and this occurred on a weekly basis between June 2005 and January 2008.
Criminal charges were brought against the grandfather who pleaded guilty before the Circuit Criminal Court in 2010 to 18 offences against his granddaughter and was jailed.
As part of her claim, she says that sometime in May 2010, her grandparents allegedly entered a conspiracy to defeat her claim for damages and with intent to defraud her and render worthless any judgment obtained by her arising out of the property transfer.
Mr Justice Barr said in a defence filed there were certain partial admissions by the grandfather who put in issue certain matters in relation to his mental state at the time the admitted acts were carried out.
The judge said medical records in general, and in particular psychiatric records, are of a highly confidential nature.
However, the court can direct discovery of the medical records, if it is satisfied it is necessary in the interests of doing justice between the parties. He was satisfied, as the grandfather had specifically put his mental state and his perception of the particular acts in issue in his defence, that it was appropriate to order the discovery.