Mother of three cleared of sexually assaulting her children despite evidence she admitted to abusing them during a lie detector test

A mother of three has been acquitted of sexually assaulting her children despite having evidence of molesting them during a lie detector test, the Court of Appeal was told today.

The woman was acquitted after a judge ruled that the confessions, made using a polygraph during an interview with a forensic psychologist, were admissible in evidence.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is now seeking a finding that the judge “erroneously excluded compelling evidence” when the woman appeared in court last July.

The prosecutor has also requested that the acquittal be set aside, as well as an order for the defendant to be tried again in relation to complaints about the original charges.

Documents presented to the Court of Appeal say Gardaí visited the defendant at a home she shared with her husband and children after Europol received a tip that someone at that location had uploaded child abuse images to the internet .

The images showed young children in a home setting being sexually abused by an adult.

In one of the videos, a child can be heard crying while being abused.

Shortly after Gardaí visited the address in South West Ireland, the children were placed in care by a High Court order.

The defendant later agreed to undergo a lie detector test performed by a forensic psychologist using a polygraph after denying Gardaí any knowledge of the abuse and claiming that her husband was solely responsible.

However, she later admitted to the psychologist that not only did she know that her husband was interested in child pornography, she also knew that he had abused her children and that she had at times complicit in the abuse.

She also admitted to abusing the children when her husband was away and when she was alone with them.

Following the detentions, she was charged with four counts of sexually assaulting three boys in violation of Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amended) Act 1990 and one count of allowing a child in her care to be assaulted, treated for illness and neglected, contrary to Section 246(1) and (2) of the Children Act 2001.

The alleged crimes took place between August 3, 2008 and March 25, 2015.

But after Judge Cormac Quinn of the Clonmel Circuit Criminal Court in Waterford heard evidence from her interviews with the psychologist during a voire dire – a trial within a trial where evidence is heard in absentia – he ruled the evidence should do not appear before the jury.

After the verdict, he agreed to a “no case to answer” motion from the defense.

The woman was acquitted of all charges after the DPP did not object to this request.

Michael Delaney SC, for the DPP, told the Court of Appeal that the defendant “clearly knew of her husband’s activities”.

He said she knew she would be questioned by a specialist psychologist regarding the abuse allegations and that she knew the expert would use a polygraph.

“This must have raised the possibility that the blanket denials she had given Gardai would not be enough,” the lawyer said.

“She had to have a sense of where the process was going. She had a choice after seeing the wind blow and she could have discussed the matter with her lawyer.”

Referring to the psychologist’s admissions, Mr Delaney said they “would have been sufficient to convince a jury”.

“It boils down to a question of fairness and it is appropriate for this court to take a fresh look at it,” he added.

Michael Durack SC, for respondent, said his client only consented to the lie detector interviews because she had “a great desire to see her children” and was told her chances of seeing them again would improve , if she agrees, “to the process”.

“The consent process doesn’t get over her wanting to see her kids. She wants to take part in the assessment,” the lawyer added.

Mr Durack also said there was “no doubt she was told she would not be prosecuted” after agreeing to meet the psychologist.

“If the Gardai had taken over the process I assumed [the psychologist]the evidence would not be admitted,” he said.

During the submissions, the President of the Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham, along with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, stated that the defendant “admitted her involvement in the crime when she was not even suspected”.

“What’s unfair about that?” he asked.

judgment reserved. Mother of three cleared of sexually assaulting her children despite evidence she admitted to abusing them during a lie detector test

Fry Electronics Team

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