|The child gave evidence via video-link and with the help of a intermediary who explained questions to him. |
It is the first time an intermediary has been used in an Irish court. Photograph: Collins Courts
The now 12 year old child also told a Central Criminal Court jury that his father raped him and regularly sexually abused him with a hot poker in their Waterford home as well as holding a gun to his head and threatening to kill him he if told anyone.
He said he believed he was raped about once a month for a three and a half year period from when he was aged six years old.
His parents face a total of 82 charges of abuse between 2007 and 2011 in Waterford. The father and mother have pleaded not guilty to 16 counts each of sexual exploitation and one charge each of child cruelty.
The mother has also denied 16 counts of sexual assault while the father denies 16 counts of anal rape and 16 counts of sexual assault with a poker.
The child was giving evidence via video-link and with the help of a intermediary who explained questions to him. This is the first time an intermediary has been used in an Irish court.
Several other measures were taken by the court for his welfare. There were regular breaks and the judge and barristers wore ordinary clothes.
That's great! So pleased that the Irish Justice System has taken this bold step.
The child was not required to take an oath but Mr Justice Robert Eagar told the jury that he had established that he knew the difference between truth and lies.
“He’d hit me, he’d rape me, he’d force me to do a lot of stuff that I didn’t want to do,” the boy told prosecuting counsel Pauline Walley SC, referring to his father.
He said three or four times a week his father would take a fire poker and “he would put it up me and put it on me and burn me and it would hurt”. He said he would sometimes be left bleeding afterwards.
The poker was a little bit like a hot shower, “not terribly hot but warm enough to still burn you”, he said.
He initially said his father had not put anything else inside him but went on to allege he also put his penis inside him.
His father owned knifes, a sword and “50 guns and 50 bullets”, the child said. He said he would threaten him using these.
He said on one occasion he found his father building a box in the shed. The child asked him what it was for and his father said it was for him before pushing him inside and nailing it shut, it was alleged.
The boy said he was in there “in pitch dark” for three or four hours before his mother found him and freed him. It was alleged the father also made the boy watch videos of naked men, women and children “having sex”.
The child said his father “always forced us to have sex, me and my mum. He would threaten us, basically if you don’t do this, I will kill you.”
He said the first time this happened the father “demonstrated” by having sex with the woman before telling the child to do it. Sometimes he would stay to watch and sometimes he would go to the pub to get drunk, the child said. He said his mother said she didn’t want to do this.
The boy also alleged that his father would video tape his rape of the child and the incidents with his mother. He said people would come over to the house and his father would show them the video tapes.
The witness said he went into school one day and told he was going to someone else’s house. “From that day on I was in foster care.”
The parents deny the charges and told gardaí that the boy was a “difficult child” who had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and behavioural problems.
Gee, I wonder why? Good grief!
The trial continues with the boy’s evidence before Mr Justice Eagar and a jury.