A 76 year old, retired teacher is being accused of indecent assault against 8 male pupils. There are 16 charges in total of events that allegedly occurred during 1968 and 1969. Another pupil has also made comparable accusations of indecent assault that he alleges happened in the same period.
The teacher can’t be named for legal reasons but we understand that the school in which the abuse allegedly happened is located in south Dublin. He is trying to stop an impending trial due to the delay in bringing the charges.
Potential witnesses are deceased
According to the prosecution many of the assaults took place with classmates watching what was happening. They were also seen by others who entered the classroom. The teacher not only vehemently denies the allegations of sexual abuse but states that anything occurring in his classroom would have been seen and heard by those in the adjacent classroom.
The problem with cases that are 50 years old is that many of the people who would have been able to throw more light on the matter have died. This factor is especially important when the defence or prosecution mention such people as being able to corroborate their argument.
Solicitors acting on behalf of the teacher argue that 16 colleagues, other staff, Gardai and regional inspectors at the time are deceased. This makes it impossible for them to be called as witnesses. Their evidence would be invaluable in terms of description of the classroom layout and observations on his teaching methods and efficiency. It is suggested that this evidence would show how implausible it is that the alleged offences were committed by him.
Judgement and appeal
However, High Court Justice Paul McDermott didn’t agree that the lack of these potential witnesses would result in an unfair trial. Part of the evidence submitted for the prosecution related to a threat made by one of the mothers of the abused pupils. She apparently threatened to report the issue, at the time, to a TV show (Gay Byrne). The defence pointed out this was impossible because the show didn’t exist until 1973, some 4 years after the sexual abuse is alleged to have happened.
Last Friday this judgement was appealed in the Court of Appeal. Judgement was reserved which means that a decision as to whether the trial will go ahead should be made within 6 months.
How lie detector tests help with historical allegations of sexual abuse
In this particular case, the accusers are approaching 60 years old. It’s a long time to wait for justice and it may well be they waited because they felt they would not be believed. At Lie Detector Test Ireland we conduct polygraph tests for historical allegations of sexual abuse to help survivors gain confidence in taking the next step in coming forward. When their test results validate their claims the first step is complete. The polygraph inspires self-confidence especially when the accused denies the charges.
Naturally the same process is available to those who believe they have been falsely accused. Perhaps the teacher should also step up to the mark.