Breaking news: A pensioner has this afternoon been found guilty of six charges of indecently assaulting a young boy at his home in Co Donegal.
The man, who is in his 70s, had denied sexually assaulting the boy, then aged 14, between 1989 and 1990 during a three-day trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court.
The jury of five women and seven men took just 57 minutes to reach a unanimous guilty verdict on all six charges.
After the man was found guilty, the court heard how the man had one previous conviction for a similar offence.
During the case, the accused man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied all charges.
Judge Cormac Quinn said he was agreeing to a request for a probation report from the man’s barrister Paul Flannery, SC.
He remanded the man on continuing bail to April 25th but warned: “I will say it is a very serious matter notwithstanding it’s an old case but it is a very serious matter.”
The man was granted legal aid for a psychiatric report.
The alleged victim, who is now in his 40s, said both he and his attacker were interested in flying and how he ended up in the man’s house looking at flying magazines.
However, he claimed the man then locked the door and indecently assaulted him.
Once back at the man’s home, he initially showed the teenage boy some flying magazines but then began to show him pornographic magazines.
The alleged victim then gave evidence that his alleged attacker locked the door and took him to his bedroom.
It was here that the man claimed he saw his alleged attacker, who is now in his 70s, carry out a sexual act with a hoover.
The man said “He dropped trousers and at the end of the bed there was a hoover. The nozzle was taken off it and he said look at this.
“He stuck his penis in and he began turning on and off the hoover. He said “This is like a woman’s vagina. I couldn’t understand it or get my head around it.
“He then pulled down my tracksuit bottoms and touched my penis and he continued masturbating himself. I couldn’t get an erection.
“He was moaning and his face was getting purple. When he ejaculated he came over to me and said that is how you know you’re a real man. He said it would come to me and that I would get an erection.”
The alleged victim also claimed that on another occasion his attacker used a lubricant before inserting a candle into his alleged victim’s bottom.
The man said he felt like he was being torn every time he went to the toilet and was also passing blood for a week afterwards.
He said he later became dependant on alcohol and would often drink a bottle and a half of whiskey “raw’ each day.
“All I want is closure and that is why I am here today. All I wanted to do with my life was to move on,” he said.
The court heard the accused was interviewed under caution after presenting himself at a Donegal Garda Station in December 2014.
After his arrest, he was interviewed twice and he denied the allegations made by the complainant.
In the interview, the accused denied that the alleged victim had ever been in his house.
He denied the allegation that made by the alleged victim on the first day of the trial that he had committed a sex act with a hoover in front of the boy.
“That is totally untrue,” he said. “I would never do anything like that with a hoover,” he said.
He also denied showing the boy pornographic magazines in his house.
“It’s pure fabrication. I don’t remember him ever being in my house.”
He said in the interview that he would have had “the odd porn magazine” in his house for his own reading.
The accused said the only sexual encounters he had in the house were with a female and were consensual.
In a second interview, he again denied taking ever taking the boy back to his house.
He also denied committing a sexual assault on the teenager with a candle.
“There is not one ounce of truth in that. He was not in my house.”
The court heard that gardaí carried out a search of the accused’s house following the interview.
The investigating garda, who is now retired, told the court the layout of the house was very similar to what the alleged victim had described.
In summing up prosecution counsel Patricia McLaughlin BL said the jury was entitled to return a verdict of guilty if they believed the evidence of the witness.
She said there were no independent witnesses but that was not unusual in cases of indecent assault as “they are covert crimes carried out away from the eyes of others”.
She said all the evidence taken together, including written records of a club that the teenager and the accused were involved in which was found at the accused’s home by gardaí, was enough to establish that the events happened.
She said that while the accused denied that the teenager was ever in his house, she said the witness had very good knowledge of the inside of the accused’s house.
She said there was also evidence of grooming in the case.
She told the jury said the witness was “a truthful witness and you can rely on his testimony”.
Defence counsel Paul Flannery SC said there were doubts raised by forms filled in by the witness when he attended counselling which contained information that he admitted was not accurate.
He said there was also doubts about the period of time the alleged abuse occurred for and that meant “there was a lot more abuse going on”.
He said the witness had “quite a selective memory” adding that the jury would have to wonder about “a good lot of his evidence”.
“I’m not saying he is a liar but he is a very confused man.”
Mr Flannery said some of the evidence went into the realm of speculation.
“To put a man away on because of speculation is a very dangerous thing to do,” he said.
He said the jury had to have a reasonable doubt and in those circumstances, they would have to find the accused not guilty.
Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury that they could not let sympathy make their decision.
When the verdict was passed, the accused man closed his eyes but showed no other emotion.
He will be sentenced at the next sitting of Letterkenny Circuit Court in April.