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Jury fail to reach a decision in north Wexford child sexual abuse case


Wexford Courthouse.

Wexford Courthouse.

Wexford Courthouse.


Five hours of deliberation failed to produce a verdict in a child abuse case heard in camera at the Circuit Court in Wexford.

The prosecution of a 51-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting his wife’s niece took more than a week of the court’s time.

And at the end of the proceedings the jury of five women and seven men disagreed on all four counts before them.

The alleged offences dated back to a period from 2013 to 2016 when the girl was in her teens and they were investigated by north Wexford based gardaí.

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The complainant insisted that she had been repeatedly touched in her vaginal area by the accused.

But he pleaded not guilty and told prosecuting barrister Dylan Redmond that he was no child abuser.

During the proceedings a video recording of an interview with the young woman, now aged in her twenties, was screened in the courtroom.

Quizzed by a specialist garda, she was in school uniform as stated that the man ‘has not been very nice to me’.

She said that he had attempted to insert his finger into her on more than one occasion when she was in his house.

It was further alleged that he groped her while bringing her in his vehicle to McDonald’s in Arklow.

In the recorded interview, she said that his behaviour made her feel awful.

She told a friend what had happened, she revealed under cross-examination, but the first adult to whom she made disclosures was a counsellor.

Evidence was given by the father of the girl, who told how he became aware of the allegations in 2018 and it was he who contacted the gardai.

The jury also heard from her mother and from her aunt as well as from the defendant.

‘I didn’t do it,’ he said, adding that he was shocked when the allegations were put to him. ‘I am not a child abuser.’

The jury was divided on whether or not to believe him.

Judge James McCourt accepted that further consideration of the matter would still not produce a verdict.

He formally remanded the defendant on bail to a sitting on February 14 to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions consider whether to mount a re-trial.