A barrister representing a father accused of sexually abusing three of his children has told a jury there is no supportive evidence for the charges.
Closing arguments are continuing in the case of five people on trial for the abuse of three children.
Those on trial include the children's parents, uncles and an aunt. The parents are also accused of wilful neglect of five of their children. All five deny the charges.
The father faces a total of 31 charges.
His defence lawyers, Senior Counsel Mark Nicholas, told the jury there may be a willingness to find wrongdoing because the complainants were children from the same family. He urged the jury to carefully assess the prosecution evidence and leave emotion to one side.
Mr Nicholas said the sense of disquiet and disgust when a child is alleging sexual assault can be overwhelming and that is natural as a human being. He said it was a totally understandable reaction but it was an emotional one which must be parked.
"You must park that sense of emotion and put it aside. Recognise it within you...ignoring it is not good because it can come back secretly and silently but get that elbow out and push it away because you must go about your business in a clinical, dispassionate manner and anything less would be to dishonour your oath," he said.
He told the jury they should "slow down, take a breath and assess all the evidence. You must recognise the emotional load and purposefully set it aside."
He asked the jury to approach the evidence with an open mind. The very dynamic at the centre of the case is three children from the one family which may subliminally give rise to a greater willingness to find wrongdoing without a full analysis of the evidence.
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Mr Nicholas referenced the movie 12 Angry Men which he said appeared at first to be a "slam dunk" where a jury had already formed a view until one said they should discuss the evidence.
"That is just a movie but the principle here is where there might be a willingness to find wrongdoing, pause, stop and discuss. That is all we can ask you to do, is to discuss the evidence."
While emotions and prejudice should be left outside the door, common sense must take centre stage in the jury room. He said there was a high standard of proof and to get there they must look for supportive evidence.
If that was not there they must be more focused on the evidence and it must be stress tested, he said.
On the totality of the evidence in relation to the significant events and the allegations of rape, he said the supportive evidence was not there.
Mr Nicholas said the onus of proof was on the prosecution and it must prove every allegation. He urged the jury not to be "squeamish or shy" in their discussions because "the stakes are too high".
He reminded the jury that while his client did not go into evidence as was his right, the jury had heard his garda interviews during which he denied all the allegations during 32 hours of detention and 12 hours of interviews.
Referring to the charges of neglect, he said the prosecution had to prove the neglect was wilful or deliberate.
He said not all neglect was a criminal act and repeated reports from social workers had documented that in their expert opinion the parents did not have the capacity to care for their children.
"There were failings, there is no doubt but for it to be criminal the person has to have the mental intent or be reckless."
He said social workers had been working with the family since 2011 and had given monumental supports requiring extra funding and still came to the conclusion that the parents lacked capacity.
These resources would not have been put in to the family if it was a case of deliberate neglect, he said.
Mr Nicholas said there was a "huge microscope put on this family and rightly so and at no stage did anyone say these are bad folk and this is willful neglect". He said the charges of neglect were never mentioned at any stage during the father's garda interviews and were "tacked on" on a later stage.
He also referenced photographs taken by gardaí after an unannounced visit to the house after the children had been taken into care. They showed a tidier, cleaner house with pictures of the children almost "like a shrine in the hope that they would come back".
Mr Nicholas said this showed that while the children were there the parents could not cope.
He said social worker whose "radar is trained in child protection" reported the children ignoring their parents and not doing what they were told, often laughing at them.
This did not suggest there was any element of fear or control which you would expect to be present if children were being sexually abused.
A neighbour who gave evidence about the family at no time saw anything untoward of a sexual nature, he said.
Mr Nicholas will continue his closing argument tomorrow.