Former priest acquitted
A former Catholic priest walked free from court yesterday after he was acquitted of sexually molesting a schoolgirl more than 30 years ago.
Belfast Crown Court Judge Tom Burgess directed the jury to acquit James Doyle (61) of 15 counts of indecent assault after he ruled that the alleged victim's evidence had been “innocently contaminated” by another alleged victim.
Doyle, from Lower Gardiner Street in Dublin, faced 20 further charges of indecent assault against the second girl but prosecution lawyer David Russell asked for those to be “left on the books”.
All 35 charges were alleged to have occurred on dates between March 31, 1976 and April 1, 1980 when the girls were aged between seven and 10 years old.
In directing the jury yesterday, Judge Burgess said there was absolutely no suggestion the women had colluded or “deliberately fabricated” their accounts.