« BackJury at trial of man accused of indecently assaulting teen in Kerry begin deliberations

Tralee courthouseThe jury at the trial of a man accused of five counts of indecently assaulting a teenager in Kerry almost 39 years ago has begun its deliberations.

Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin has now completed her judge’s charge at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court.

She warned the jury time distorts memory and this had to be taken into consideration.

The accused denies the charges that are alleged to have occurred between May and October 1977.

In his closing statement, prosecuting counsel Tom Rice said the issue the jury had to consider was the credibility of the complainant.

He said of course there were going to be inconsistencies in the most honest of witnesses and if there wasn’t, this would arose suspicion in the jury.

He said the complainant had had problems in her life and had dealt with these and was not a victim but a survivor and her credibility was not undermined.

Defending, John O’Sullivan said the prosecution’s use of words like ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’ and describing the complainant as a ‘broken’ woman was highly emotive language that had no place in a court of law.

He said tears and demeanour prove nothing and the vagueness of the evidence, a lack of corroboration, and an unexplained and long delay in making the allegations had to be considered.

Mr O’Sullivan described the complainant as being ‘difficult’ to cross examine and slow to answer difficult questions.

Judge Ní Chúlacháin told the jury of seven women and five men they could consider the demeanour of a witness but they also had to apply common sense and act dispassionately.

She said they cannot convict the accused unless they are convinced of his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.