Man denies indecently assaulting his son

A man has claimed before the High Court that charges that indecently assaulting his son more than 20 years ago arose from an attempt by his estranged wife to blackmail him into agreeing a divorce on terms favourable to her.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claims that the charges against him have been made on the instigation of the his son's mother in order to give her a divorce on terms.

However, he had refused to agree to those terms.

The man, who denies all allegations against him, is facing a number of charges including 36 counts of indecently assaulting his son, who was aged between five and 13 years of age at the time, on dates between 1982 and 1990 at locations in Co Cork.

Today at the High Court, the man was granted leave to bring judicial review proceedings aimed at prohibiting his trial dues to take place at a sitting of Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Moving the application Timothy O'Leary SC for the man said that the first complaint was made to the Gardaí in February 2008. No complaint had been made until that point. His client denies all the allegations against him.

Counsel said that his client and his estranged wife separated in 1990 and she had instigated divorce proceedings in 2006. Those proceedings started after the man started a new relationship. The court heard that after the separation the man's relationship with his children was good

In response the man filed a defence and counterclaim to the divorce proceedings, making a claim for property adjustment orders and other financial orders against his estranged wife.

The man said that his estranged wife runs a business which they had operated together before the separation.

Counsel said that in 2007 a solicitor representing his client received a letter his estranged wife which stated that "if he (the man) wants to keep his disability benefits and keep his full time job plus stay out of prison because of sexual abuse a letter must be sent to the Circuit Court and a copy to myself consenting to the divorce".

Counsel said that the letter went on to stay the if the letter was not sent then the Department of Social Welfare would be informed, and "a statement would be made to the Gardai about the sexual abuse".

Counsel added that the letter added that that the man would need a lot of good advice or he would be looking through prison bars for a long time.

In reply counsel said the solicitor for the man sent a letter denying the claims of abuse, and advised his former wife that she was attempting to blackmail the man.

However in a further letter the man's estranged wife stating that if common sense prevailed the divorce would go through on consent.

However the woman said as the solicitor and the man "think differently" the man "faces a bleak future because the can of worms he opened on himself smells rotten and don't forget ye were warned".

Counsel said that in July 2007 his client was telephoned by his son, the alleged injured party. Counsel said that his client was informed by his son that he should sign the divorce papers and if he did that he would not complain to the Gardaí, and that his client could continue to see his grandchildren.

Counsel added that a subsequent request by the alleged injured party to meet with his client, after the complaint was made to Gardaí, was turned down.

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