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Man who abused his son, daughter and nieces to appeal conviction

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A Munster man jailed for sexually abusing his nieces in-law as well as his son and daughter over four decades has moved to appeal his conviction.

The 52-year-old man who cannot be named to protect the victims' identities, had pleaded not guilty at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court to 10 counts of indecently assaulting nieces in-law on dates between 1988 and 1992 and not guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting his daughter and son in 2001, 2002 and 2011.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to ten years imprisonment with the final two suspended by Mr Justice Carroll Moran on March 3 2013.

Counsel for the man, Patrick McGrath SC, submitted that the trial judge erred in failing to sever the indictment because the case concerned six complainants spanning a period of 24 years which did not meet the “striking similarity test” and were not cross admissible.

Mr McGrath said the offences had no striking similarity and were directed at children in a different relationship in different places.

That made it impossible for the accused to get a fair trial, Mr McGrath said.

Furthermore, Mr McGrath submitted that the trial judge erred in not summarising the defence's case at all in his charge to the jury.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Anne Marie Lawlor BL, said the judge did as he was obliged to do having regard to the nature of each complaint.

If the time lapse was relevant then each decade would have been tried separately, she said.

She said the offences involved the same modus operandi, the same targeting of individuals in similar locations – the home.

When asked whether there was a duty on the trial judge to summarise the other side's evidence, Ms Lawlor said the defence was that the offences did not happen.

Reserving judgement, Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would give its judgement as soon as possible.