Biography - Nora Wall
Biography - Pablo (Paul) McCabe
Rape accusation, conviction, and appeal
Arrest and trial
doubts about the conviction
Reaction of Kevin Myers, July 1999
Reaction of Sisters of Mercy
Court of Criminal Appeal,
- It would be easy to demonise the two young women, but Nora Wall will have none of it. Regina Walsh had spent time in St. Declan’s Psychiatric Unit, after a suicide attempt, immediately prior to making the allegations. Regina and Patricia were vulnerable people, she maintains, and she in particular commends Patricia for having the courage to eventually admit that she had lied. It had a particular poignancy, because Patricia was her “first baby”, reared since 13 months of age in Coisceim. After the miscarriage of justice was declared, Nora extended her hand to Patricia and told her that she was “still her first baby”, which caused Patricia to fall into her arms and cry uncontrollably.
Court of Criminal Appeal, 1 December 2005
- had been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness and admitted to a psychiatric hospital and undergone treatment;
- had a recollection of events that arose as the result of "flashbacks" and had no full memory or recall of those events;
- had previously made a false allegation that she was raped; and
- had previously falsely alleged that she had been assaulted.
- prior to the trial, a direction had been made that she not be called as a witness as she was regarded as being unreliable;
- she had made allegations against her late uncle and another man over an alleged rape, and that the High Court had made findings adverse to her credibility and reliability;
- the police officer who had taken her statement in respect of the complainant was the same police officer who investigated the earlier false complaints made by her against her uncle and against the other man;
- the DPP and the Chief State Solicitor had the carriage of the proceedings in the High Court in which the adverse findings against her had been made;
- subsequent to the conviction and sentence of Nora Wall, Phelan disclosed to another nun, Sister Mona Kileen, that she had lied in her statement and that she had given false evidence against the applicant;
- there was a strong risk of collusion between Phelan and the complainant Walsh.
- Evidence of Patricia Phelan
Criticism of the handling of the case
Mr Justice Paul Carney
The Gardaí (police) and the Chief State Solicitors Office
- Nora Wall was the first woman in the history of the State to be convicted of rape;
- She was the first person in Ireland to receive a life sentence for rape;
- It was the only case in the history of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that a witness was called contrary to the instructions of the DPP;
- Regina Walsh said she had recalled the rapes after experiencing "flashbacks". This seems to be the only occasion a conviction was obtained on Repressed memory evidence in Ireland. (However in the USA "Repressed memory syndrome" has a long and contentious history).