No verdict in case where brothers accused of raping siblings
Judge isolating at home discharges jury ‘deadlocked’ over alleged abuse in 1970s and 1980s
The trial of two brothers at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard allegations that they repeatedly indecently assaulted two of their younger brothers in the years between 1979 and 1988. File photograph: Frank Miller
A jury has failed to reach a verdict in the trial of two brothers accused of sexually abusing their younger brothers in the 1970s and 1980s.
The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard allegations that the defendants repeatedly abused the two children in the years between 1979 and 1988. One of the complainants testified that he was raped up to 1,200 times over a number of years.
The boys were members of a large family and the alleged abuse occurred at the family home in Dublin. Neither of the defendants can be named to protect the anonymity of the complainants.
The eldest brother, who is now aged 55 and living in Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to 35 sample counts of indecently assaulting his two younger brothers on dates between 1979 and 1985. The second oldest brother, now aged 50, pleaded not guilty to 16 sample counts of indecently assaulting his younger brother between 1985 and 1988.
On day six of the trial, the jury of seven women and five men deliberated for just under five hours before the jury forewoman told Judge James McCourt that they were unable to reach a verdict.
She told the court that they were “deadlocked”. The judge had earlier directed jurors that the court could accept a majority verdict on which at least 10 of them agreed.
The judge thanked the jurors for their service. He had been addressing the jury throughout via video-link from his home where he is social isolating because of a close contact with somebody who has Covid-19.
After discharging the jury, the judge remanded the defendants on continuing bail to appear at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on October 12th.
During the trial Philipp Rahn SC, prosecuting, told jurors that as the eldest in a large family, the older accused was given some responsibility for the other boys, who all shared a bedroom.
He said that the State’s case was the accused was 10 in 1975 when he began to “exert sexual control” over his younger brother, who was a toddler. He said this may have begun as a form of control or sexual curiosity and developed to sexual gratification.
He said that when the other complainant, who is the youngest boy, was aged three, the eldest boy began abusing him.
He said the second eldest boy was aware of what his older brother was doing and from the age of 11 “he follows his brother’s example” and began abusing the youngest boy.
Counsel said there was evidence from this complainant that the two accused would “fight over who gets to sexually abuse him”. One complainant testified that he first remembers his brother molesting him when he was a six-month-old baby.
Mr Rahn said it was not reasonably possibly that both complainants were fantasists and had imagined all the alleged assaults.
Garnet Orange SC, defending, told the jury that “it is inconceivable that nobody else saw anything over the many years” covering the alleged abuse.
He said the complainants concocted the allegations due to issues over their mother’s disputed will and only went to gardaí at the latter stages of the resolution of these issues.
Vincent Heneghan SC, defending the 50-year-old accused, said it did not make sense that his client abused the two complainants with three other boys in the same room. He said the evidence was that neither of the alleged victims saw the other being abused.