The indictment against a Cork father who allegedly raped and sexually assaulted his daughter for a number of years has been quashed by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court on grounds of delay in bringing the complaint.
Mr Justice Carney said his examination of the evidence as "a single juror" brought him to the judgement that the indictment had to be quashed because there was no "situation of domination" that forced the now 37-year-old complainant's delay in claiming her father abused her.
Mr Justice Carney said that while under principles governing matters of delay there was no time limit on making a complaint, the now 56-year-old accused had the right to have the case against him proceeded with expedition.
The woman had made 23 rape charges and five of indecent assault from 1974 to 1980 and had waited 20 years to bring a complaint.
Mr Justice Carney said the first category for examining grounds for delay in bringing forward a complaint was the question of whether there was something in the conduct of the accused person himself or the nature of the crime that justified delay.
"Domination of the prosecutrix by the accused person is justifiable grounds for delay", Mr Justice Carney said.
With regard to this particular case, Mr Justice Carney said the complainant had witheld her charges on the basis of not wanting to break up the family.
She claimed the abuse began when she was nine years old and her father told her if she complained, her mother would be upset, the family would split up and the children would be sent to homes.
She described herself as the "rock of the family" and had not made the complaints about her father because she was afraid it would lead to the separation of her parents.
She only complained after her parents broke up over unrelated issues. Following the break-up she realised her mother was able to get on with her life despite their separation and decided she herself could get on with her own.
Mr Justice Carney noted she said she was a strong person and had managed to stop her father from having sexual intercourse with her when she was 15.
She agreed that until about three years ago she had a good relationship with her father despite the alleged sexual abuse. She had let him stay at her place for a week after her parents' marriage broke down. Asked why she had helped her father, she replied: "He was my father".
She explained that she was a good-natured person and she would look after anyone who was in trouble, and her father was "no different".