A retired surgeon who denies groping young male patients at a Drogheda hospital has told a jury that he has no memory of treating four of the complainants.

Michael Shine, 85, of Wellington Road in Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight charges of indecently assaulting six patients at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and at his private clinic, both in Drogheda, Co Louth, on dates between 1964 and 1991.

The evidence has ended in the trial and lawyers will give their closing speeches to the jury on Tuesday.

In his direct evidence Mr Shine told the jury that he would never do anything that would embarrass or upset a patient.

He said that he did not indecently assault any of the complainants and has no memory of treating four of the alleged victims.

The jury has heard that there are no medical records linking three of these complainants to Mr Shine.

The accused accepted that he did treat two of the complainants. He agreed also that there are medical records of him attending to these patients.

He said he remembered treating one of these complainants for un-descended testicles in 1974. He said he would have examined the testicles every time this patient came to see him but denied that he ever massaged the base of the patient's penis.

He said his relationship with this patient was "a perfectly normal doctor patient" and added "I treated him with the greatest of respect".

Under cross-examination from Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, he denied having taken advantage of this patient.

He accepted that he did treat another complainant, sometime around 1976, for an infected in-growing toenail.

The jury has heard that two letters linking this complainant to Mr Shine exist including a letter from Mr Shine to the patient's GP.

The accused told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that he examined the glands in the upper part of this patient's thigh because of the risk of the infection spreading.

Mr Condon put it to him that he had just "made this up" in order to cover up his alleged groping of the boy's testicles and penis for around two minutes. Mr Shine said he was speaking from "my wide experience of how I'd see this person".

He said: "From what I wrote in the letter I know what I did for him." He said he had no memory of this patient apart from the letter.

Before evidence resumed this morning Judge Cormac Quinn told the jury that he was withdrawing the charge in relation to one complainant.

He said that he would direct them to find Mr Shine not guilty of indecently assaulting the 15-year-old boy sometime between 1988 and 1991.

Mr Shine was alleged to have groped the boy's genitalia during an examination of a foot injury.