Semen on child’s top matched accused, court hears

Semen from a 57-year-old man, who denies sexually assaulting his 10-year-old niece, was found on the girl’s top on forensic examination, a judge and jury were told yesterday.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, the man denies sexually assaulting the girl on occasions up to the age of 10 in September 2014 at his home in Kerry.

Following legal submissions in the absence of the jury, the judge told the jurors he was directing them to return a verdict of not guilty by direction of the trial judge on two of the charges. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin told them it would be wrong for them to speculate on why they were being so directed.

The prosecution closed its case and the jury heard closing addresses from the prosecution and defence lawyers.

Siobhán Lankford, prosecuting, said there were two alleged incidents that they now had to consider. One related to the complaint that the accused put his hand inside her top and on her breast when she was sitting in his house and doing her homework.

The second alleged offence was of getting on to a mattress when she was staying overnight at his house and moving up and down on her back when he was wearing boxer shorts.

Evidence of the accused being interviewed by gardaí was put to the jury.

He repeatedly said, “I done nothing to her. I haven’t been near the child. I never did it.”

Gardaí put to the defendant forensic evidence of the defendant’s semen being found on the hoody worn by the girl when she stayed on the mattress that night.

He commented, “If they say it was found on it I cannot argue with it. What I am saying is that on the night — or any other time — I never interfered with that child.”

Ciarán O’Loughlin, defending, said: “Despite the allegations being put to him again and again and again he robustly and stoutly denied them.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin will address the jury today before they deliberate on their verdicts on the two charges.

Forensic scientist David Casey, who was called by the prosecution, confirmed a DNA matchfor the semen on the hoody being that of the accused and he said it could not be said how it got there.

Forensic scientist Orla Sower, called by the defence, said that the pattern of the stain was atypical for direct ejaculation.

She said they could have tested the mattress for semen staining to see if contact with that would explain the stain on the hoody but they were not given the mattress to test.



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