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I didn't abuse niece who was given to me as a daughter on my wedding day

A man accused of having sex with his wife's niece told gardai that he considered the girl a daughter after she was given to him on his wedding day to raise as his own child.

Garda David Peak agreed with Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, that the 39-year-old accused denied in garda interview that he regularly had sex with the girl from the time she was 12 and said "she is a child to me, not a wife or a girlfriend".

He further denied that he had asked the girl to lie on top of him as he was lying down on the couch and said he had never given her oral sex.

"I never done such an abominable act," the accused said in interview. He also said that the girl's claim that they she shared his bed three to four times a week over an 18-month period was not true.

The accused has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 17 sample counts of sexual assault between December 2004 and April 2006 at their Kildare home.

The man told gardai that he had moved to Ireland from his native country in November 2002 with his wife but sent money to his mother so he could bring the complainant to Ireland a few months later.

He denied the girl's allegations that he had ever hit her but admitted slapping her hand and chastising her after she stole €50 from him.

The man told gardai that the girl had told him that she had been sexually abused as young child in their native country.

Gda Peak agreed with Barry Hickson SC, defending, that his client had no previous convictions in Ireland.

Mr Orange read a statement to the jury from a medical practitioner that examined the now 17-year-old, which concluded that her vagina showed "long-term penetrative abuse".

The complainant accepted in cross-examination from Mr Hickson that she had written a letter to the accused on March 14, 2006, asking him to forgive her, apologising for being so bold and asking him not to take her out of his heart.

She said the accused's friend told her she should apologise to him because she had stolen a phone, necklace and watch from him. She said she had written the letter because she couldn't say it to his face.

Strange

When asked by counsel if she thought it strange to write such a letter during a time that the man was allegedly abusing her, she replied that she was trying to get into his good books.

She denied that the incidents she had described "never took place" and did not accept that the accused had a girlfriend from February 2005 who would regularly sleep in the house.

The teenager agreed that she told her father's sister about the accused asking her to lie on top of him on a couch a couple of weeks after the incident and before he had started having sex with her.

She said the woman came to Ireland from England to talk to the accused about this but accepted that she returned home without contacting the gardai, a social worker or her school. She said her aunt did not leave her with a phone number she could be contacted on.

The girl did not accept a suggestion from Mr Hickson that this claim was very "far-fetched" and refused to accept that this woman never visited her at all.

When asked why she did not contact this woman again when the alleged abuse started, the complainant replied that she had no number for her aunt and the accused would not let her use the phone in the house.

She said her aunt had told her father about the man's suggestion to lie on top of him but the accused had threatened her dad and her family knew what he was like.

The trial continues before Judge Tony Hunt and a jury of eight men and four women.

hnews@herald.ie


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