Rape injuries heal within days, expert tells court

A consultant paediatrician has told a Central Criminal Court rape trial jury that genital injuries to a child from sexual abuse could heal within days and not leave any residual findings.

The 73-year-old accused man has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexually assaulting and raping two daughters between the ages of four and 11 and sexually assaulting his son from the age of three to six at various locations between 1995 and 2002.

Dr Peter Keenan told Ms Anne Marie Lawler BL (with Ms Isobel Kennedy SC), prosecuting, that through his work in Temple Street Hospital he had been involved in the examination of child victims of sexual abuse.

He said he did not examine the complainants in this case.

He agreed with Ms Lawler that genital injuries to a child from penetration by a penis or other object almost always heal quickly and do not necessarily leave residual findings.

He agreed that the lining of the vagina was similar to that of the mouth in that any damage will heal rapidly without necessarily leaving scarring.

He agreed that a “very traumatic” injury could heal within seven days.

Dr Keenan agreed with Mr Blaise O’Carroll SC (with Mr Keith Spencer BL and Mr Tom Neville BL), defending, that there was a critical time when injuries could be found and said that time was “very brief, maybe days”.

Ms Kennedy also read to the jury a number of the accused man’s interviews with gardaí in which he repeatedly denies the allegations of his children.

Gardaí agreed with Mr Spencer that the accused man came to the garda station voluntarily and with Mr Neville that the accused dealt freely and openly with every question put to him.

The trial continues before Mr Justice George Birmingham and a jury of eight men and four women.


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