Accused man asked for psychiatrist, garda tells court

 

A man accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old Co Louth girl over an eight-year period told gardai who arrested him that they should get a psychiatrist to talk to him, the Central Criminal Court was told yesterday. When asked why he made that suggestion he was said to have replied: "That would prove it."

A garda who agreed he was personally acquainted with the girl through a sports activity told the jury on the second day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court that he thought the accused man's suggestion was "very strange."

He agreed with Mr Patrick Gageby SC, defending, that he had commented to the accused that the girl was only 15 years old and "built like Marilyn Monroe".

"That's the way I speak," he said, but did not agree with counsel that it was unusual.

The 53-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to 14 offences on dates from 1989 to 1997. He denies seven charges of indecent assault, three of forced oral sex, three charges of having unlawful carnal knowledge when the girl was under 15 years old, and one of unlawful carnal knowledge of her on February 9th, 1997, when she was over 15 but under 17.

Dr Grainne Courtney of the Rotunda Hospital sexual assault unit told Mr Justice Kelly and the jury that the girl's hymen was not intact, but her genital area was normal when examined in September 1997.

Dr Courtney agreed with Mr Gageby (with Mr Paul McDermott), in cross-examination, that the hymen could have been ruptured otherwise than by sexual intercourse.

The arresting garda told prosecuting counsel Mr Kenneth Mills SC (with Mr Roderick O'Hanlon) that the girl complained to him of sexual abuse in March 1997. He contacted Det Garda Maureen McFadden in Drogheda and they took a statement from the girl in her mother's presence on March 20th, 1997.

He and another garda arrested the accused on March 24th. He told him a memo of the interview would be taken down in writing and it was then the accused made what he regarded as "a strange suggestion" that gardai should get a psychiatrist to talk to him.

The accused declined an invitation to sign the memo of the interview, which was read over to him at about 5.30 p.m.

The accused told gardai his wife would believe him because she "knew the alleged victim".

A woman giving evidence for the defence told the jury of six men and six women that she had "nothing but good memories" of the accused from her childhood. She was often in his company in her home and in his, and never had anything to fear.

The trial continues.