Email Us My Blog



Priest Abuse Jury to Consider Verdict


Fr Eugene Lewis

A Co Tyrone jury of six men and six women are expected to retire on Wednesday to consider their verdicts in the trial of Fr Eugene Lewis, who is accused of abusing three Co Fermanagh sisters.

UTV News Tuesday, 25 May 2010

For the past six weeks the 76-year-old has been depicted on one hand as a vile evil paedophile, while on the other portrayed as a loving caring wonderful man.

While directing the jury on the law surrounding the 11 charges Father Lewis denies, trial Judge Philip Babington warned them not to be influenced by the current public uproar concerning the church and the past sex abuse of children.

"The subject of clerical sex abuse has been reported in the press on a very regular basis. Put that to one side. Only you have heard and seen all of the evidence in this case. The facts of this case are totally your responsibility," said Judge Babington.
For similar reasons the judge also warned the jury not to be swayed by sympathy or prejudice for either Fr Lewis or his three alleged victims.

Judge Babington also said the jury should remember that they were "dealing with matters, which on my calculation occurred between 37 and 47 years ago".

The judge said "memories can fade with the recollection of time", and it could be, "given that passage of time it may have harmed" the defence of Fr Lewis.

In all, Fr Lewis, based at Cypress Grove House, Templelogue, in Dublin, faces a total of 11counts of indecently assaulting the sisters on differing dates between August 1963 and September 1973.

Although not charged with more serious sex offences it was part of the prosecution case that he raped one of the sisters, after being sent to Dublin for counselling for having an affair with a married policeman, and of sexually abusing a fourth sister in the White Fathers' former base in Blacklion.

He was not charged with these offences because they were allegedly committed in the Irish Republic.

The jury have already heard final submissions from prosecution and defence lawyers.

It is expected that the jury will retire to consider their verdicts in the case on Wednesday morning.