Sunday 22 September 2019

Woman who sued her brother over alleged history of rapes awarded €150k

A WOMAN who sued alleging she was raped and sexually abused by one of her brothers over years in their family home when she was a child has been awarded €150,000 damages by a High Court jury.

Antoinette Mc Loughlin (46), of Lusk, Co Dublin, sued her brother Patrick Garvey (52), Silverglen Gormanstown Road, Stamullen, Co Meath, over the assaults on her on dates from 1976 to 1980.

He denied the claims.

The civil action was at hearing for some eight days and the jury of five men and seven women returned with their verdict after over three hours deliberation on Thursday and Friday (Nov 13).

In reply to a question whether Mr Garvey carried out assault and battery on his sister on any of the occasions allegedly by her, the jury replied: Yes.

It also replied yes to the question: did he falsely imprison her on any of the occasions alleged.

It assessed general damages to date and into the future at €125,000 and aggravated damages at €25,000.  It did not award exemplary damages.

In her action, Ms McLoughlin claimed the abuse began when she was aged eight, and her brother was aged about 12 or 13, and it continued for about four years.

She claimed it happened in the girls’ bedroom of the family home in Balbriggan, a home she shared with her parents, five sisters and two brothers.

She told her father Peter Garvey about the abuse at the time it was happening but hedid not believe her and slapped her across the face, she told the jury.

This made her feel like an “outcast” in her family, her counsel Sasha Gayer SC said.

Mr Garvey denied all the claims and was supported throughout the eight day case byhis wife, four sisters and his brother. His sisters, Mary, Assumpta, Linda and Margaret, all gave evidence for him.

Another sister, Susan, who died in 2007, had accompanied Antoinette to a garda station when she made a formal complaint of abuse against her brother in March 2006, the jury heard.

John Gordon SC, also for MsMcLoughlin, said this indicated Susan was sympathetic to Antoinette.

A consultant psychiatrist told the court he had diagnosed Ms McLoughlin as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of sexual abuse.

The jury was told Ms McLoughlin has had a “hard life” to date, suffering psychiatric difficulties including taking an overdose on one occasion. Two other children suffered illnesses and she had also experienced difficulties in her marriage.

Her life had improved in recent years and she had retrained and returned to work, the court also heard.

Ms McLoughlin alleged the assaults began when she was aged eight and after she made her First Communion. She claimed her brother was in a position of control over her at the time, forced her to commit oral sex on him and watch him masturbating.

It was also claimed he raped her and emotionally taunted and tormented her about sexual and quasi sexual matters. 

An incident during a party at the family home in October 2004, when she met her father on the

landing, triggered a flashback and it was only then she felt able to tell her family of the abuse, she said.

She was dissatisfied with what was described as a “poor apology” from her brother the day after the party.

In March 2006, after she received a letter from his solicitors asking her to provide an undertaking not to make allegations of abuse against him, she made a formal complaint to gardai and also went to solicitors.

Following the verdict Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh thanked the jury and discharged them from jury duty for seven years.   Counsel for the defendant asked the matter be put in to next Monday to allow him address the judge on his order awarding costs to Ms McLoughlin.

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