Michael Shine convicted of indecent assault on teenage patients

Victim says doctor slipped hand under blanket and started massaging testicles

A jury has convicted retired surgeon Michael Shine of indecently assaulting two young male patients in a hospital in the mid-70s. Photograph: Collins Courts.

A jury has convicted retired surgeon Michael Shine of indecently assaulting two young male patients in a hospital in the mid-70s. Photograph: Collins Courts.


A jury has convicted retired consultant surgeon Michael Shine of indecently assaulting two young male patients in a hospital in the mid-70s.

Mr Shine (85) of Wellington Road, Dublin 4, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight charges of indecently assaulting six patients at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and at his private clinic, both in Drogheda, Co Louth, on dates between 1964 and 1991.

On Wednesday the jury of four men and eight women acquitted him of some of these charges.

On Thursday morning, having deliberated for just over six hours, the jury returned majority guilty verdicts on three outstanding counts of assaulting two teenage patients on dates between 1974 and 1976.

Shine had admitted attending to these patients but denied anything inappropriate was done during these medical examinations. Giving evidence during the trial, he said that he would never do anything that would embarrass or upset a patient.

One victim testified that he was aged around 15 or 16 in 1976 when he attended at the hospital with an in growing toenail. He said Shine tied him to a bed with rubber bungee restraints and a blanket and then slipped his hand under the blanket and started massaging his testicles.

‘Just a young boy’

He said he knew it was weird but did not know if he could speak out because he was “just a young boy”.

The second victim testified that during two follow up examinations for undescended testes at Shine’s private clinic in Drogheda, Shine massaged the base of his penis.

The victim was in his mid-teens at the time and told the trial that he told himself for years that there was nothing improper about what the doctor did.

Judge Cormac Quinn remanded Shine on continuing bail until December 1st for sentencing. Shine had become unwell and arrangements were being made to take him to a GP but he was present when the jury delivered its verdicts just before midday.

The six complainants were all teenage boys at the time they allege Shine touched them in their genital areas while treating them for injuries such as cuts to a knee, an injury to a finger and an injured toe.

On Wednesday the jury acquitted Shine of four charges of groping three other teenage boys on dates in 1964, 1970 and and 1976. Shine denied ever seeing these patients and there were no medicals records to confirm that he had seen them on the dates of the alleged assaults.

Reasonable doubt

Judge Quinn had previously told jurors that this was an historic case and warned them that if they had a reasonable doubt in relation to records missing due to the delay, they must give the benefit of the doubt to accused.

During the 12 day trial, the judge directed the jury to acquit Shine of one count of indecent assault on another boy on a date between 1988 and 1991.

Judge Quinn ruled that the evidence of this complainant was that a nurse was present throughout the examination during which Shine allegedly assaulted him. Judge Quinn withdrew the charge from the jury because the nurse could not be found.

Lawyers for Shine questioned each complainant extensively about any interactions they had with Dignity4Patients, a group set up by Bernadette O’Sullivan in the mid-90s.

The lawyers said Ms O’Sullivan had directed a campaign against their client which involved advertisements and talks on local radio asking anybody who had been treated by Shine to come forward to make complaints.

The defence position was that the complainants were not independent, may be colluding and were motivated by civil actions to make their complaints.

Struck off

Shine retired in 1995 from Lourdes Hospital after three decades of working in Drogheda. He was struck off the medical register in 2008 after the Medical Council found he had abused his professional position by making sexual advances toward three patients.

He was first investigated by gardaí ­ in the 1990s, and went on trial at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court in 2003 where he was acquitted by a jury.

In 2012 more than 100 former patients who claimed they were sexually abused by him agreed to a settlement, believed to exceed €8 million, with the Medical Missionaries of Mary, which owned Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

The six complainants in this trial received €70,000 in compensation in a settlement that did not make any admission of liability.