A jury has acquitted retired surgeon Michael Shine of four counts of indecently assaulting young male patients.
Mr Shine (85) of Wellington Rd. in Dublin had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to seven charges of indecently assaulting five patients at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and at his private clinic, both in Drogheda, Co Louth, on dates between 1964 and 1991.
Shortly before 4pm the jury of four men and eight women told Judge Cormac Quinn it had reached majority verdicts on some of the counts.
They acquitted Mr Shine of four charges which cover alleged offences against three teenagers on dates in 1964, 1970 and and 1976. Mr Shine has denied ever seeing these patients and there were no medicals records to confirm that he had seen them on the dates of the alleged assaults.
The five complainants were all teenage boys at the time they allege Dr Shine touched them in their genital areas while treating them for injuries such as cuts to a knee, an injury to a finger and an injured toe.
The remaining three counts cover alleged assaults on two teenage patients on dates between 1974 and 1976. Mr Shine admits attending to these patients but denies that anything inappropriate was done during the medical examination.
The jury foreman told Judge Quinn that the jurors were “relatively entrenched” in their position on the remaining charges but were happy to continue deliberations on these.
In his charge to the jury on Monday Judge Quinn said that corroboration evidence – credible independent evidence of the alleged acts which implicate the accused in those acts – did not exist in relation to any of the complainants.
He warned the jurors: “It is dangerous to convict on the uncorroborated evidence of any of the complainants” but added that they are nevertheless entitled to find the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt once they have taken this warning into account.
“You have to exercise special care on whether you believe each complainant. You have to exercise caution before acting on unsupported evidence,” he said.
He told the jury that it could decide there were similarities in the accounts and evidence of the five complainants. He said the defence position was that the complainants were not independent, may be colluding and were motivated by civil actions.
He said there was an inherent improbability of several persons making up exactly similar stories.
He said the jury must take each count separately but that if it found Mr Shine guilty beyond reasonable doubt on one count, it could consider it more likely that the account of another complainant of a similar incident was true.
The jury began deliberating yesterday/Tuesday afternoon and continued deliberations this/yesterday (WEDS) morning.