A man who denied sexually assaulting his niece at a ‘This Is Your Life’ celebration at Pairc Uí Chaoimh was found guilty of that offence yesterday by a jury who deliberated for over five hours.
Christopher McCarthy, aged 50, was also found guilty on a second count of indecently assaulting the same niece on Christmas Day about four years earlier, when he was 20 and she was 10. They found him not guilty on three other counts.
In the dock at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, McCarthy had begun to cry tears of relief when the jury verdicts of not guilty were returned on the first, second, and third counts. He reacted in shock, stopped crying, and shook his head as the final two verdicts went against him.
Tanya Walsh, who waived her right to anonymity from the beginning of this trial on Tuesday of last week, wiped her eyes as it became clear the jury believed McCarthy had indecently assaulted her at Pairc Uí Chaoimh on the night of a ‘This Is Your Life’ event for his brother, Gerald McCarthy, the celebrated hurler.
Judge David Riordan agreed to a defence application to allow the accused out on bail so he could say goodbye to his family as his barrister, Niamh Stewart, acknowledged that a prison sentence was inevitable. The judge said Christopher McCarthy had to surrender his passport to Togher gardaí by 9pm last night. Sentencing was put back to July 29.
The jury found him not guilty on the first three counts where he allegedly put his fingers up her skirt and in to her vagina at her grandparents’ home at Upper Clarke’s Rd, Ballyphehane. He was found not guilty of indecent assault in a similar fashion when she was sitting on his shoulders. Thirdly, they found him not guilty of a similar offence when she was allegedly sitting on his lap on a short family trip to somewhere in town in the back of a car with others.
The first count on which he was found guilty happened on Christmas Day 1984 when they were trying to get reception to watch the film Airplane on a bedroom television upstairs at her grandparents’ house. He put his fingers in her vagina.
While McCarthy was accused of five counts of indecent assault, it was the fifth complaint, relating to the ‘This Is Your Life’ event in 1989, that stood out in the trial. He was found guilty of that crime.
Ms Walsh said that, at the event, she and her late mother, a sister of Gerald and Christopher McCarthy, were expected to be on the phone from England where they lived but were actually in the next room and were brought out as a surprise for Gerald McCarthy.
“Coming towards the end of the night, my mum had been drinking quite a bit [and had gone missing. I went looking for my mum. I ended up in the tunnels when I came out of the hall. I started to walk down looking for her,” Ms Walsh told the trial.
“Christopher McCarthy came out of nowhere... He asked me what I was doing. I said I was looking for my mum. We started walking along. I had a beige skirt, quite a short skirt. He placed his hand on the back of my skirt and placed his hand into the back of my knickers. He put his hand to my vagina, as we walked his hand was rubbing me.
“Someone just appeared and he stopped. That was probably one of the most scariest. If we were not disturbed (by the person passing), I thought he would do something worse.”
McCarthy denied all counts and called Ms Walsh malicious, vindictive, and a liar. “I think she would like to be able to blame someone for all the horrific things she has done,” he claimed. “It is pure malice. At the end of the day, I know that she is looking for money.”
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