Gardaí did not investigate alleged child abuse victim’s complaint, court hears

There was no investigation after woman gave statement on alleged abuse by father, trial told

Gardaí did not carry out a new investigation when a woman made a complaint as an adult in 2010 over  alleged child abuse, the High Court has heard.  File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Gardaí did not carry out a new investigation when a woman made a complaint as an adult in 2010 over alleged child abuse, the High Court has heard. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

Gardaí did not carry out a new investigation when a woman, who is suing her father for allegedly sexually abusing her as a child and facilitating neighbours to do the same, made a complaint as an adult in 2010 over the alleged abuse, the High Court heard on Friday.

In 1988, two years after the woman, her sister and mother left the family home for a refuge, a file was sent to the DPP on foot of a Garda and health board investigation of the abuse allegations.

The DPP did not recommend prosecution because the child, who was between four and six when the abuse allegedly occurred, was too young to give evidence, the court heard.

The father says the alleged abuse never happened.

In 2010, the woman made her own complaint to gardaí, who took her prepared statement.

A detective from the woman’s locality told the court on Friday he took that prepared statement and asked her a number of questions. She also made a declaration at that time in relation to her personal details and other details.

After he tracked down the 1988 file on the matter through the DPP’s office, he then forwarded his own report to the DPP, along with the woman’s own statement, “to have the entire matter reviewed”.

The DPP directed in October 2011 there be no prosecution against the father, the garda told the court.

‘No new investigation’

Under cross-examination by Bernard Madden SC, for the father, the detective agreed there had been no new investigation in relation to matters in the woman’s statement, including an interview with the father or any of the other parties accused of abuse.

He agreed with counsel that none of the allegations made in the woman’s prepared statement of 2010 were investigated by him or any other garda.

The garda also said he did not see it as “a fresh complaint” as the case had been investigated before, in 1988, and he had sought a review from the DPP as to what could be done.

Another garda, now retired, who investigated the 1988 complaint, which arose out of interviews between the child and social workers, told Sasha Gayer SC, for the woman, that she had questioned the then eight-year-old child in detail about the allegations.

Under cross-examination, Mr Madden put it to the retired garda that language contained in the three-page statement from 1988 was “not the language of a child of eight”.

The garda replied: “All I can say is it is a statement of what the child said.”

A consultant liaison psychiatrist who first saw the woman in 2013 told the court she formed the opinion the woman had post-traumatic stress disorder and a damaged personality.

The case was on its fourth day on Friday. It resumes on Tuesday before Judge Michael McGrath and a jury of 10 men and two women.