Northern Ireland

John Brown prosecutors 'unaware of lawsuit against Dana'

John Brown
Image caption John Brown denies five counts of indecent assault

Prosecutors investigating sex abuse allegations against Dana's brother had no idea the singer is being sued by one of the alleged victims until shortly before the trial began, it has emerged.

John Brown, 60, denies five counts of indecent assault against two girls.

The first alleged victim and her mother have filed defamation claims against Eurovision winner Dana.

The action is over two interviews in which she dismissed rumours about her brother as "vile and malicious lies".

Dana gave the interviews to TV3 and RTE during her 2011 Irish presidential campaign.

Lawyers for Mr Brown, of Lilly Hill Road, in Bracknell, Berkshire, claim the allegations of indecent assault against two girls under the age of 16 in the 1970s have been made up to support the claim in Ireland.

Harrow Crown Court was told it was Mr Brown's lawyers who had to inform the Metropolitan Police of the lawsuit, weeks before his trial began.

Giving evidence in court on Wednesday afternoon, Detective Constable Richard Anderson, leading the investigation, admitted he was not aware of the defamation case when the allegations first arose.

A defence barrister, addressing the detective, said: "Would it be fair to say it was only in the last few months you became aware of the defamation proceedings in Ireland? It was not something you had heard from [the first alleged victim or her mother] themselves?"

"No", the detective replied.'

'Eight-month delay'

During the sixth day of the trial, the court also heard how it had taken police eight months to question Mr Brown after the first victim gave a statement in September 2012.

The defence barrister said: "Was there a reason for what appears to be an eight-month delay between allegation and investigation taking place?"

DC Anderson blamed the delay on problems the force had locating Mr Brown's home address after he was assigned to the case in January 2013.

However, the barrister said: "Please Mr Anderson, are you telling me it took a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police five months to find out where someone lives?"

"I can't remember the process to date", the detective replied.

Television comments

Earlier, the court was told the abuse allegations against Mr Brown may never have surfaced if she had not mentioned them in the TV interviews.

The court was told the comments led to one of the alleged victims going public.

On Wednesday Greg Harkin, the Irish Independent's north-west regional correspondent who first broke the story in October 2011, told how he spoke to the first alleged victim, now 47, by phone 10 days earlier about the abuse.

He then approached Dana about the allegations before any story was published, but she refused to comment, the court heard.

That week during an election debate and another television interview, Dana cryptically referred to the allegations, insisting they were "vile and malicious lies".

Giving evidence Mr Harkin said: "The whole nation thought it was bizarre. The big story the next day was 'what was all that about?'"

He said that when he first spoke to the alleged victim she was a "reluctant witness" and was unsure about going public.

'Had to respond'

But that changed when Dana made the comments in television interviews on TV3 and RTE days later.

Mr Harkin said: "After the TV3 interview went out, she [the alleged victim] was very angry. That article [revealing the abuse claims] might never have appeared if it weren't for the television interview.

"She was angry, she wanted to clear her name. I think, at that point, she felt she had been made out to be a liar by Dana on television so she felt she had to respond."

The court later heard evidence from a younger sister of the second alleged victim, now 53.

The alleged victim had earlier told the trial Mr Brown groped her as she lay in bed next to her younger sister, who took the stand on Wednesday.

Recalling the night in question, when the victim was aged 10 or 11, the sister said: "John was in the bedroom, I think we were already in bed.

"I just remember lying down and he was talking to [her sister]. He was wearing underpants. He stayed there for a little while and then we said we wanted to go to sleep and he went out of the room.

"[Later] I woke up with someone grabbing down my side, swishing in bed and pinching me. I couldn't see things clearly, but my sister was swishing in bed and my initial thought was he [Mr Brown] was kissing her. He was on top of her.

"I just said 'what are you doing John? Get out'. I just felt uncomfortable and I didn't want him to be there."

Mr Brown is alleged to have then left the room after a light came on in the hallway or bathroom.

The case continues.

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