A woman and her two sons who had been accused of subjecting a male relative to years of physical and sexual abuse have been acquitted of all charges.
After the prosecution offered “no evidence” against the trio at Belfast Crown Court on Monday, Judge Gordon Kerr QC directed the jury of nine men and three women to find them not guilty of all charges.
The alleged victim had claimed that after he went to live with his 63-year-old aunt and two cousins, 38 and 36-years-old, she had been cruel to him and had encouraged her sons to do likewise.
He also alleged that while his older cousin sexually molested him on one occasion, the other had subjected him to repeated bouts of abuse and buggery.
In total, the 63-year-old woman was acquitted of six charges of common assault and one of child cruelty while her 38-year-old son was cleared of seven counts of common assault and one of indecent assault.
The 36-year-old was found not guilty of four charges of common assault, three indecent assault and one of buggery with all the offences dated between 1 October 1992 and 1 October 1997.
The first problem in the case arose however when the alleged victim claimed his aunt was a Fegan type character, sending the children out on shoplifting sprees, allegations which did not form any part of the Crown case.
A second jury was discharged when the alleged victim’s sister repeated those allegations and declared herself to be the reincarnation of Mary Magdelene “fact!”
At the time, Judge Kerr suggested the prosecution review the state of the evidence and on Monday prosecuting lawyer Robin Steer offered no evidence against the three defendants.