A priest accused of sexually abusing three Fermanagh sisters has been described in court as a loving, caring, wonderful man.
Statements of support from around the world, including one from an African bishop decrying the “repugnant and damaging allegations” against Fr Eugene Lewis, were read to his Omagh Crown Court trial.
The 75-year-old, a former provincial superior of the White Fathers, based at Cypress Grove House, Templelogue in Dublin, faces a total of 11 counts of indecently assaulting the sisters on different dates between August 1963 and September 1973.
Giving evidence as part of his defence case, a young cousin, Mary Lewis, told the court of his visits to her Dublin home when she and her sister were aged between seven and eight.
Asked by solicitor-advocate Joseph McVeigh whether Fr Lewis had done or said anything then, which now as an adult she regarded as “inappropriate”, she replied “absolutely never, never”.
Her cousin, and one of Fr Lewis' nieces, Jenifer O'Brien, also said he was “a wonderful man”.
Final submissions are due to begin next Monday.