Court told false allegations of sexual abuse used to derail Dana campaign

John Brown accused over indecent assault against two girls

Dana Rosemary Scallon: the former MEP and Irish presidential candidate Dana is supporting her brother. Photograph: Frank Miller

Dana Rosemary Scallon: the former MEP and Irish presidential candidate Dana is supporting her brother. Photograph: Frank Miller

Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 09:19

Members of Dana Rosemary Scallon’s family supported false allegations of sexual abuse against her brother to derail her election campaign following a bitter inheritance feud, a court has heard.

John Brown, a brother of the singer-turned-politician, faces five counts of indecent assault in the 1970s against two girls under the age of 16, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Harrow crown court heard yesterday how the historic allegations against the 60-year-old had effectively split the family in two.

At the height of the inheritance dispute, former MEP and Irish presidential candidate Dana, who is supporting her brother, allegedly told her sister Ellen “you don’t know anything, you stupid bitch” when she was asked to settle the row.

One of the alleged victims claims John Brown touched her inappropriately on four occasions, in the UK and US.

Her claims are being supported by Dana’s brother Robert Brown and sister Ellen Bradley, both of whom gave evidence in court yesterday afternoon.

Concoted

But defence barrister Martyn Bowyer, representing the accused, said their testimony was concocted to get their own back at Dana and John Brown in a row over the inheritance of their mother’s house.

Robert Brown told the court he first heard about allegations against his brother John in 2003, about the time Dana first ran for the presidency of Ireland.

He claimed he subsequently confronted the defendant during a phone call a short time later. “I said to him, ‘if there is any truth in this, then you need to go to the USA and deny it. It will destroy the family name and it will be dreadful for Dana’s campaign. The [pro]-abortionists would love to get hold of this and it will get back to Ireland.’ But he wouldn’t do it.”

Addressing Robert Brown, Mr Bowyer suggested he had subsequent contact with Irish Independent journalist Greg Harkin, who is due to be called as a witness in the case, with an intention of getting the story aired.

He said: “There is no love lost between you and your brother, is there? You’re suing him because you believe he is doing you out of money from your mother’s house.

“There was no such [phone] conversation between you and your brother John, was there? I’m going to suggest to you that, along with your sister [Ellen], you were happy to allow this story to come into the press and it may very well be that the target was your sister . . . [Dana].

‘Drip-fed’

“It was the aim that this would come up when your sister was campaigning for the presidency of Ireland and that, bit by bit, Greg Harkin was drip-fed the story that he eventually published.”

Robert Brown denied the accusations from Mr Bowyer and insisted the phone conversation with his brother John had taken place.

The court also heard emotional testimony from prosecution witness Ellen Bradley, a sister of Dana, Robert Brown and John Brown.

Ms Bradley told the court she first heard about the allegations in 2004 when she overheard an argument involving the victim’s father and mother at a recording studio in the United States.

Defence barrister Mr Bowyer said that, in a witness statement given to the metropolitan police by Ms Bradley last year, she said she first learned of the abuse allegations in 2005, a year after the row in the recording studio.

‘Memorable event’

Mr Bowyer said: “There is not a word in this witness statement about you being in the US, being in the office next door [to the recording studio] – you have been told that this week. It is a pretty memorable event – why didn’t you tell the police about that?”

She replied: “I’m not going to lie about that. I assumed I had [told the police].”

Ms Bradley said through tears as she sat in the stand: “My mother used to say, ‘stay out of it’ and I’m trying to do that. I said to Dana, ‘you need to sort this out . . .’ and she said ‘you don’t know anything, you stupid bitch’.”

The hearing continues today.