A 66-year-old Belfast man has denied sexually assaulting his nephew at a house in Donegal more than 20 years ago.
The man’s nephew, who is now 35, has accused his uncle of sexually assaulting him four times at his grandmother’s house in north Donegal when he was 14 years old.
The accused has denied four counts of sexual assault between December 1st, 1993 and January 31st, 1994.
During two days of evidence at Letterkenny Circuit Court, the alleged victim spoke of how he became involved in a gang after leaving school and served time in prison for armed robbery.
He claims the abuse happened when his uncle took him to Donegal over the New Year period to do work on his grandmother’s house. But the defence has argued that the family sold the house in 1992 and had no access to it in 1993.
The witness told Judge Keenan Johnson how the abuse affected him. “I was so ashamed I felt I had done something to encourage it or something,” he said. He said the abuse was “really hard to live with” and he decided to make a complaint after seeing the accused with his own grandchildren.
The alleged victim’s mother said she noticed “a big change” in her son after he returned from Donegal.
Retired Garda Sergeant Christopher Galligan said that when the allegations were put to the accused he said: “It will rip the family apart.”
On the second day of the trial, the accused said he did not know why his nephew was making the allegations and was ‘baffled’. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed and the devastation to the family is unbelievable.
“It has turned the family upside down. There is no way I would do anything like this to a young person and if I did, I would shoot myself,” he said.
The accused said that his nephew was always troubled as a child and had been bullied in school.
Closing prosecution and defence statements will be made tomorrow morning before the jury will be asked to retire to make their verdict.