Woman’s abuse case against uncle dismissed
Judge not satisfied defendant had perpetrated alleged acts
A woman who sued her uncle for damages alleging he sexually abused her when she was a child has lost her High Court action. Photograph: Frank Miller
A woman who sued her uncle for damages alleging he sexually abused her when she was a child has lost her High Court action.
The woman claimed she was subjected to sexual abuse when she babysat at her uncle’s house in the late 1990s when she was aged between seven and 10 years. The allegations included anal rape, attempted oral rape and other forms of molestation.
She said she was satisfied the woman (24), when giving evidence, believed she was telling the truth and did not purposefully set out to mislead the court or make deliberate false allegations.
However, the fact the woman was genuine in her belief the assaults took place did not mean they occurred, the judge said.
While she knew her dismissal of the action would cause the woman a great deal of distress and upset, that regrettably was something that could not be avoided, the judge said.
She said she acknowledged evidence of the defendant and his wife as to the devastating effect the complaints of sexual abuse have had on their lives for so many years.
“All that remains to be said is that I hope that at some stage in the future the trauma which has afflicted both parties and their families as a result of the misconceived allegations of abuse will come to an end.”
The judge made no order for costs in the case, meaning each side pays their own legal teams. There would be no reality in making a costs order and it would only further damage the relationship between the parties involved, she said.
Ms Justice Irvine said she was conscious that, for many decades in Ireland, vast numbers of children were sexually abused by those entrusted with their care and many were disbelieved when they first came forward. However, she was not satisfied the defendant had perpetrated the acts of sexual abuse contended for by the plaintiff, the judge said.