Man claims sister made false allegations of sexual assault against him
High Court allows challenge to agency’s refusal to rescind notice given to Garda vetting bureau
The man, who cannot be identified, says his sister made the false accusations against him following a conflict within the family home in relation to their late mother’s estate. File photograph: Dave Meehan
A man who claims his sister falsely alleged he sexually abused her has launched a High Court challenge over the Child and Family Agency’s refusal to rescind a notice issued about him to the National Garda Vetting Bureau.
The man, who cannot be identified, says his sister made the false accusations against him following a conflict within the family home in relation to their late mother’s estate.
The court heard the man had lived in what is now his former family home with his mother and a sibling for many years.
Four years ago, he claims his sister, along with her adult son, moved into that property with them.
A few months later, he claims he, and other family members, asked his sister and her child to leave the property because of their alleged bullying and aggressive behaviour towards him.
Sometime afterwards, the man, who now resides at a different property, was informed by the agency his sister had alleged that he had sexually abused her on several occasions during the early 1970s.
The man denied the allegations, and informed the agency the allegations were made as a result of his sister of being asked to leave the former family home. Despite his denials, the agency concluded the allegations were founded, he said.
He claims that decision was tainted and the investigation process carried out following the complaint was flawed and unfair.
He said a social worker who made the initial finding against him had done so without any robust or meaningful analysis of the allegations and wrongly made a finding he was a paedophile who had committed unnatural and criminal offences against his sister. Arising out of that finding a “specified information” notice was issued to the National Garda Vetting Bureau.
The man successfully appealed the Child and Family Agency’s finding.
An appeal panel held his denials of the allegations had not been properly taken into account or stress tested by the agency. The appeal panel also noted the social worker who made the finding against him had wrongly stated that there was no evidence to support the man’s claim the allegations were in response to a conflict within the family.
Following the appeal, he sought to have the notice rescinded immediately but claims the agency, due to its initial finding, refused to do this.
Represented by Michael O’Higgins SC, the man has brought judicial review proceedings seeking an order quashing the Child and Family Agency’s refusal to rescind the notice issued about him to the Garda Vetting Bureau in 2019.
He also seeks an order preventing the agency disclosing any information to any other parties until the High Court action has concluded.
He claims the agency’s refusal to rescind the notice breaches his constitutional rights, including to privacy, family, fair procedures and his good name.
Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Charles Meenan who returned the matter to July.