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Trial witness breaks down describing alleged rape

A witness in the trial of a man accused of 121 sex offences against young boys has broken down in tears as he described to a jury how he was allegedly raped when he was ten or 11 years old.

The witness was the first to give evidence in the trial of a 59-year-old man accused of offences against eight young boys including sexual assault and rape. The man has pleaded not guilty.

The Central Criminal Court heard the offences were allegedly committed between 1995 and 2007. At the opening of the trial prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn told the jury the accused man would “lure the boys into conversation” by promising cigarettes.

The court was told a complaint was made to gardaí by three of the boys in 2000 but a prosecution was not brought at that time.

The first complainant, who has been living abroad for the past number of years, said he made a complaint to gardaí after hearing during a phone call home how another local had tried to smash the defendant’s window. As a result of hearing this, he said he became angry that the man had been “abusing others” and he decided to report the matter to gardaí. Up to then he had never told anyone apart from his wife, whom he had told some years before that.

The man broke down in tears in the witness box as he described three occasions where he alleged he was sexually abused in the defendant’s home. The man said he lived nearby and played in the area because many of his friends lived there. He said he had been in the accused man’s house a number of times, and said the man’s wife was friendly with his mother at the time.

He had been invited in by the man to smoke cigarettes and he said one evening he was sexually abused. He said he did not think there was anything wrong with this because it was being done by a family friend. On a third evening he said he was raped by the defendant. He said he remembered the “excruciating pain”, one he would never forget and that he had jumped up afterwards and left. He said the defendant got “mad and was saying ‘where are you going?’ He was saying there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing f***ing wrong. It didn’t seem right to me”.

He said years later he had encountered the defendant in a pub and “saw red” and had hit him a number of times before being stopped by a friend. “I believe I may have said to him that is for what you did to me years ago,” he added.

During cross examination by defence counsel Roisin Lacey, he said he did not recall the man’s wife ever being in the house when he was there. He did not know if the man’s children were in the house at the time, apart from a young baby on one occasion. He said he believed the man’s wife may have been in hospital at the time.

Ms Lacey put it to him that it was a busy house with a number of children, and was quite a small house. Ms Lacey said her client denies all of the allegations and says none of this happened and “anything you have said is untrue and that these are lies”.

It was put to him that he had never been threatened by the accused man to which he replied “other than being raped, no”. He said he had no recollection of the man threatening him not to tell or frightening him into keeping quiet.

He said he had no recollection of going into his parents’ house that night, he just remembered leaving the accused man’s house and it was dark, adding he did not even remember grabbing his shoes. He said he had no recollection of going back to the accused man’s house after that.

After a number of questions from defence counsel about his recollection of the night and afterwards, he said “I just remember it being one of the worst nights and that pain I felt. If I you want to keep reminding me of that.”

The witness said he went to see a counsellor in 2011 after he had returned from abroad, and after he had told his wife of the alleged assaults. Asked why he did not tell the gardaí at that stage, he said: “I just didn’t tell them”.

Ms Lacey put it to the witness that the accused man had been at going away parties for him when he was moving abroad. The witness replied “most definitely not” because they had had an altercation before his final move abroad and he had no recollection of him being at a party on a previous occasion.

He said he had no recollection of it in later years after he had done an apprenticeship doing some repairs in the accused man’s house. However, he said he may have done it because his parents would have questioned him if he had refused.

It was put to the witness that the accused man will say he had stayed overnight in his children’s bedroom and when he awoke the next day the witness had gone. The witness said that was “complete lies”. Ms Lacey said her client would say he was never alone with the boy in the manner alleged to which the witness replied “more lies”.

A second complainant told the court the accused man’s home was “very open to boys” and he gave them cigarettes, alcohol and pornographic magazines. He said he was in the man’s home a number of times when aged 11 or 12 sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. He said the accused man was always “very interested” in what girls he liked and would ask him about them. He said on one occasion he had put on a pornographic video before moving to a bedroom where he was touched by the accused who also masturbated. He described a second occasion where a similar thing happened in the man’s car.

He said the accused man would regularly leave cigarettes on a wall at the side of his house for him and other boys. He said one day he went to get the cigarettes and he saw something through a window which he believed was the accused man in a sex act with a youth. He said he called to the door and the man told him to f**k off. He said his view changed that day because he had seen something and he did not want that to happen to him. The man later moved to a different part of their village, he said.

Defence Counsel Roisin Lacey told the witness her client denied the allegations and that anything happened to him. She said her client would also deny giving pornographic magazines to boys but accepts that he gave them cigarettes. The witness said: “All I know is what I said in my statement is true”.

It was put to him that he was in the house on a daily basis and that he was never alone in the house with the accused. He said this was not true and repeated that he was alone with the accused in the bedroom and alone in the car. He said he knew the accused man’s wife was not there at the time of the alleged offence because “it would not have happened if she was”.

He could not recall if the man’s children were there or not but “it makes it a whole lot worse” if they were. He agreed that he had never been threatened by the accused but could not remember if he had been asked to keep it quiet or a secret.

The witness said he never spoke about what happened for 25 years afterwards, but his name was mentioned in someone else’s statement, and he was approached by the gardai and gave a statement. When it was put to him again that the accused denies all the allegations the witness said: “I’m 38 years of age, I have a number of children and I’m not going to lie about this or put myself through this”.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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