Former Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scallon broke down in tears today as she dismissed allegations of sexual abuse made against her brother as "lies".
The former Irish presidential candidate and former MEP took to the witness box for the defence at Harrow Crown Court in London at the start of the third week of her brother John Brown’s trial.
Ms Scallon (62) told the jury she was “shocked” when she first heard of the claims in 2008 and said the “completely ridiculous” allegations were made up following a business dispute with one of the alleged victim’s parents.
Mr Brown (60) is charged with five counts of indecent assault against two girls under the ages of 13 and 16 at various times and locations in the 1970s. He denies all the charges.
The prosecution allege Ms Scallon knew of the alleged abuse of the first victim for more than 30 years but covered it up to protect her celebrity status and family name.
Appearing at court for the first time this morning in a black skirt and light brown patterned jacket, the All Kinds of Everything singer denied ever having been told about the claims, ever speaking to anyone about them or being involved in any form of cover up.
Speaking softly and at times becoming emotional, she said she was first made aware of the claims of the first victim, now 47, during a US court battle over the ownership of a shared business interest between herself, Mr Brown and the girl’s mother and father.
The allegations were put to Mr Brown during a pre-court deposition in 2008, at which Ms Scallon was present.
Ms Scallon, who was born in north London, said: “I was shocked, especially as it was brought up in a case that was completely unrelated.
“It was completely ridiculous.”
The court had earlier heard the former pop star sought help for her brother about his urges in the 1970s from a priest named Father Brown, but she explained to the court he had died a decade earlier.
She said she had very little contact in the 1970s with the first victim, who is currently suing her for defamation after she said the allegations were “vile and malicious lies” during a 2011 television interview.
Ms Scallon told the court: “I was particularly careful about what I said…but I said it was vile and untrue lies against a member of my family. It was me being targeted, John was just collateral damage.”
The first victim alleges she was abused by Mr Brown when she visited the singer on a summer season in, she believed from her memory, Torquay.
But Ms Scallon told the court she was never visited by the girl at any of her summer seasons in the 1970s and only performed in Torquay in 1980, when she claimed the girl was also not present.
During cross-examination Ms Scallon said the story was leaked to the Irish media by the girl’s family after they “decided on the story together” in 2011 to destroy her presidential election bid following a bitter row over the business interest.
Ms Scallon claims she spoke to her brother about the allegations after they came out at the US court case.
Asked if there had been any truth in them and whether she asked him any more about them, she said: “Absolutely not. I didn’t have to ask him anything else. I knew it wasn’t true.”
The trial continues.