Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Rape accused 'is father of daughter's children'

DNA evidence in the trial of a man on almost 100 charges of raping his daughter has ruled out her partner as being the father of her two children.

The tests show that the woman's father is almost certainly the father of her children.

The Central Criminal Court sitting in Castlebar, Co Mayo, yesterday heard evidence from forensic scientist Michael Burrington.

Mr Burrington, who is attached to the Forensic Science Laboratory, said he had received various swabs on dates last year and this year from the alleged victim, her two daughters, her father and her partner.

The woman had earlier told the court that her father had continually raped her between 1985 and 2000.

She gave evidence that she was first raped by the accused man in a press when she was just five or six years old.

Mr Burrington said he had generated a DNA profile to determine if either her father or her partner could be the father of her two children.

The results of the tests excluded the possibility that her partner was the father of the children.

In the case of the first child, he determined that her father was 2,500 times more likely to be the father than an unrelated male.

This amounted to a 99.96pc probability of paternity.

In the case of the second child, he was 7,700 times more likely to be the father than an unrelated male.

This amounted to a 99.98pc probability of paternity, the court heard.

Cross-examined by Martin Giblin SC for the accused man, Mr Burrington said that it was theoretically possible that a close relative, such as a brother of the accused man, could produce the same DNA. But Mr Burrington said that he did not know of any such instance, other than with identical twins.

Following legal discussion, Mr Justice Barry White withdrew 14 of the initial 105 charges from the jury.

In his summing up to the jury, prosecution counsel Paul Burns said that the evidence had shown the woman to be a reliable witness. She had been unbreakable in evidence; there was no doubt, no uncertainty.

Mr Burns submitted that, despite her father's denials, he did have sex with her and he was the father of her two children. He invited the jury to compare the dates of birth of the children with the dates of the allegations.

Mr Giblin told the jury that the case was not as black and white as might appear. There was abundant reason for the jury to have second thoughts, he said.

He reminded the jury that while his client had not given evidence at the trial, he had denied everything when interviewed by the gardai about his daughter's allegations. It was also harder for an accused person to deny something that happened many years ago than more recently, he contended.

Mr Justice White is expected to complete his summing up before lunchtime today. The jury has been left with a total of 91 charges to consider.

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