Closing statements in 'false sex abuse asccusations' trial

The closing stages have been reached in the trial of a man for falsely claiming a priest buggered him when allegedly helping with prayers for his First Holy Communion almost 30 years ago.

The 34-year-old south inner city accused denies making a false statement to Detective Garda Brian Kavanagh at Kevin Street Garda Station, Dublin on June 18, 2003 that acts of indecent assault and buggery were committed on him by the priest in the period February to May 1981.

The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard closing speeches on day-15 of the trial from prosecuting counsel, Mr Dominic McGinn BL, and defence counsel, Mr Damian Colgan BL.

Judge Patricia Ryan will charge the jury when the hearing resumes on Tuesday and the eight men and four women will then retire to begin deliberations.

The priest told Mr McGinn he nearly "died of fright" when Cardinal Desmond Connell, then Archbishop of Dublin, informed him that allegations of child sexual abuse had been made against him.

He said he found the allegations "repulsive" and the whole situation "very difficult" and that it took several days for the news to sink in. He also had to immediately withdraw from parish duties and stay with friends and it was several months before he was told by gardai that they would not be pursuing a case.

He told Mr Colgan, in cross-examination, that he "absolutely had not abused and buggered" the accused and the allegations were "appalling".

The jury, which viewed a video-recording of an interview in which the accused told gardai his allegations were not (NOT) true and that he apologised to the priest for making them, heard him repeat the allegations in both his direct evidence and his cross-examination at the trial.

The accused claimed in evidence that gardai ordered him to make the video-recorded "admissions" and said he did so that he could get home from the garda station, though he agreed when cross-examined that he would have had to be released from custody about 25-30 minutes later in any case.

He denied saying to gardai: "I thought of the story first and then the priest's name."

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