A paediatrician who examined three children at the centre of an alleged abuse case has told the Central Criminal Court she noted evidence of scarring consistent with accidental injuries but otherwise their examinations were normal.
She was giving evidence in the trial of six adults who are charged with a range of alleged abuse offences against three children.
Those on trial include the parents, aunts and uncles of the children. The parents are also charged with neglecting five of their children.
All charges are denied.
Replying to questions from prosecuting counsel Eilis Brennan, the clinical paediatrician said she examined the children 18 months after they were taken into care.
She was given an account of the allegations made by the children by a Garda who was present along with the children's foster parents.
She told Ms Brennan that in cases such as the allegations involved in this case, studies had shown the majority of relevant examinations would be normal. She said children heal very quickly, often within a two-week period.
The jury was told she carried out general physical examinations and noted some injuries consistent with accidental injuries.
On the eldest boy she noted significant dental decay and a scar on his back. She said the boy could not remember how it had occurred. Other examinations she carried out were normal.
In relation to the girl, it was noted she had some scars on her body consistent with accidental injury and other examinations were normal.
She said that on the younger boy she noted scars from a burn on his arm and thigh. She said other examinations were normal.
The jury also heard evidence of the arrest and questioning of the children's aunt, a 32-year-old woman, who faces four charges including sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
The offence of sexual exploitation was explained to her and she told gardaí such activity was "sick" and "disgusting".
She said she would help the gardaí in whatever way she could but repeatedly said she had never done anything to a child.
She became upset as she told gardaí: "For someone to do anything like that to a child is disgusting, the child’s life ruined."
She repeatedly told gardaí she had never witnessed anything done to a child and became upset and said she felt sick as she told gardaí she was the mother of three young children.
She said she was never present when anything happened to the girl who has made allegations and said if she was, she would have stopped it.
She repeatedly told gardaí: "I was not there."
Asked why the girl would make the allegations she said she did not know and did not think her partner would do anything to children.
Repeatedly pressed by gardaí to tell them what happened she said she did not know anything about the allegations and had no reason to lie. She would not have stayed with her partner if he had done anything to a child either, she said.
"I wasn’t there. How can I prove to you I wasn’t there, I don’t know anything about these allegations," she said.
She also denied ever taking or sending any inappropriate photos or videos of any children.
She told gardaí she was being honest and that she would clear her name. She cried as she told them: "I am being honest but you are not believing me. I don’t know how I will do it but I will clear my name."
During cross-examination the interviewing Garda agreed with defence counsel Seamus Clarke SC that his client had been interviewed for a total of ten hours and 22 minutes over two days.
She had not invoked her right to silence nor had she sought advice from a solicitor or had one present as she was entitled to.
The Garda agreed that she had cooperated and became increasingly upset as the interviews continued.
Evidence was also given by a county council housing services officer. He told Mr Brennan that his work involved monitoring letting agreements and managing breaches of those. He said that reports of unacceptable or anti-social behaviour would come to him.
He agreed that he had received a number of complaints in relation to the address of the children’s parents and that one was from a neighbour who has already given evidence.
He recommended to the neighbour that she keep a diary of the behaviour in the house so that would be a way of recording problems. He said this was later given to the gardaí.
He visited the home of the parents and had a discussion with them in relation to the complainants about excessive noise, general upkeep of the house and disposal of waste.
In April 2016, specialist noise monitoring equipment was installed in the neighbour’s house to try to substantiate the allegation made and see if there was excessive noise coming from next door which was impacting on their quality of life.
He said this essentially proved there was excessive noise.
The trial continues tomorrow.