13-year-old rape victim had abortion in England yesterday

 

The 13-year-old rape victim at the centre of the C case had an abortion in England yesterday. She was accompanied by two gardai who have made arrangements to secure DNA evidence for a prosecution case against the man suspected of raping her, it has been learned.

The girl went to Britain with her Eastern Health Board guardian and travelled on Tuesday evening to an abortion clinic in Manchester.

A detective superintendent and another officer went with the girl, and put in train the legal requirements for securing the DNA evidence from the foetus after yesterday's abortion.

The procedure was identical to that carried out in the 1992 X case where DNA evidence was also used to support statement evidence from the victim. It is understood the procedure did not require the officers to bring back any evidential matter to the Republic. Their role was to ensure evidence was properly secured and transferred to a laboratory for DNA testing. This is known as ensuring "continuity of evidence".

The process entails taking sworn statements from doctors and technicians about the taking and storage of the material from the foetus. DNA comparison with a suspect will show whether or not he impregnated the victim. DNA evidence of this kind has been used in Irish courts for the past five years.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Youth Defence, which has been in constant contact with the girl's parents, said she went to England on Tuesday evening and her parents did not know about it until yesterday. The spokesman said the parents were not being informed about anything and they did not know what would happen when she returned to Ireland.

The parents had not met their daughter at a meeting arranged for Tuesday as, he claimed, the EHB had refused to comply with certain conditions: the parents wanted to talk to their daughter on her own. The parents also wanted the foetus baptised and the body brought home for burial, but none of those wishes had been complied with. They were distraught, the spokesman stated.

On Tuesday evening, the EHB issued a statement denying the allegations that it had prevented access to the girl by her parents. It stated that on Tuesday the board had made arrangements on two occasions for the parents, and other family members, to meet the girl, but they had not turned up.

The statement said the EHB had "never decided on or sought an abortion for the child or in any way influenced her decision in this matter". The State had appointed a separate legal team to represent the girl's wishes and interests and all the issues relating to medical assessments were dealt with by the Children's Court and subsequently by the High Court.

Yesterday, however, the Pro-Life Campaign in a statement described as "ludicrous" the EHB's statement that it never decided on or sought an abortion for the girl. "It is a matter of record that the Eastern Health Board sought a court order to allow it to arrange and fund an abortion. This can only mean that the EHB decided an abortion was an appropriate medical response to this tragedy," the statement said.

"Some weeks ago, the EHB took into its care a young, deeply traumatised girl and her unborn baby. Today, it is reported that they have taken the girl to England for an abortion. The EHB fought hard to achieve this, and its efforts to distance itself from the consequences of its actions are not credible," the statement added.