19 May 2022

Pensioner jailed for abusing boy (14) awaiting appeal outcome

Pensioner jailed for abusing boy (14) awaiting appeal outcome

Donegal pensioner jailed for abusing boy (14) awaiting appeal outcome

A pensioner jailed for abusing a teenage boy 30 years ago must wait to hear the outcome of an appeal against his conviction. 

John Barrow (74), with an address in Crolly, County Donegal, had denied six counts of indecently assaulting the then 14-year-old boy in the county between August 1989 and September 1990. 

Barrow was found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final two years suspended by Judge Cormac Quinn on June 19, 2017. 

He moved to appeal his conviction in the Court of Appeal on Thursday where judgment was reserved. 

Counsel for Barrow, Fiona Murphy SC, told the three-judge court that her client ought to have been acquitted by direction due to a fundamental inconsistency in the prosecution’s case. 

Ms Murphy said the offences were alleged to have been committed when the boy was in sixth class, but it was established that the boy was in sixth class from September 1986 to the summer of 1987, two years before the scope of the indictment. 

It was an inconsistency of such “magnitude”, there was no way to wedge it into the dates outlined in the indictment, she submitted. 

She said the prosecution could have applied to amend the indictment but no such application was made. 

In response to a question from the court, Ms Murphy said “logs” documenting flights her client and the boy had taken together contained internal inconsistencies in themselves.  

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Patricia McLaughlin BL, accepted there was an inconsistency in relation to the complainant’s time in sixth class but that was the only “discord” in his evidence. 

Ms McLaughlin said there was sufficient evidence for the jury to rely upon in establishing reliability and credibility. She said it would have been “extraordinary” for the trial judge to have withdrawn the case from the jury. 

Reserving judgment, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Mr Justice Brian Murray, said the court hoped to be in a position to deliver it’s decision on December 10 next. 

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