Man found guilty of sexually assaulting girl (4) his wife was minding

Accused (59) found guilty on two counts in unanumous jury verdict

 

A man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a young girl his wife was minding in their family home.

The 59-year-old man had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of sexually assaulting the then four-year-old child on dates between July 27th, 2016 and July 11th, 2017.

On the ninth day of the trial on Friday , the jury returned unanimous verdicts of guilty on both counts after deliberating for over five hours.

Judge Elma Sheahan thanked the jury for their care and attention. She remanded the man in custody and adjourned the matter for sentencing on February 28th next.

During the trial, the jury heard that the child’s mother and the accused’s family had been very friendly for a number of years and her daughter had been minded by both the man’s daughter and wife from the time the child was one year old.

The child said the accused put his hand under her shorts in the living room of the house where he lived. She said he rubbed her “bum” and this made her feel bad and it hurt her.

The court heard that the child later indicated to her mother that when she said her “bum” she meant her vagina.

Dr Charlotte Murphy, a forensic scientist with Forensic Science Ireland, said that she determined that DNA found on a saliva stained section of the child’s underwear matched the DNA profile of the accused man.

Dr Murphy said the chance of finding this DNA profile if the saliva came from someone other than the accused was 1 in 6,700. She said her conclusion was that in her opinion the results in the case provided “strong support” for the proposition that the accused man had sexual contact with the child.

When interviewed by gardaí, the accused man said that none of the allegations had ever happened and that he was never alone with the child.

The accused man said the child got annoyed when he would not allow her to climb up a ladder and put her hand in his mouth. He said that was the only explanation he could give for his DNA being found on her because from there she went to the toilet.

In her closing speech to the jury, Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, said that a forensic scientist who was asked to consider the accused man’s explanation said she would have a very low expectation of finding saliva on the inside gusset of the child’s underwear in that scenario.

In his closing speech to the jury, John Fitzgerald SC, defending, said that when the child first made the allegation, her mother told the child if she was lying, the gardaí would take her away. He asked the jury what child in their right mind was going to withdraw an allegation in those circumstances.