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Court told of threat in loyalist sex assault case

A threat was made to burn one of the girls who accused a high-profile loyalist of indecent assault, the High Court was told.

Prosecutors said a family friend of the victim claimed he overheard talk of the plan if she testified against Mark Harbinson.

Harbinson (43) is accused of a number of child sex offences, including the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl.

He is also alleged to have assaulted a second girl aged 15 and a 12-year-old boy.

Harbinson, a prominent Orangmen at the Drumcree marching standoff, was refused bail by a judge who said there was “a formidable array of evidence against him”.

The accused, from Sheepwalk Road, Stoneyford, Co Antrim, faces further charges of possessing indecent photographs and sexual activity between an adult and a child. He denies all the charges.

Harbinson was detained by police in a car with the 13-year-old girl three days after his house was searched in October 2009, the court heard.

She claims the pair were in a sexual relationship from March to August/September last year, with encounters allegedly taking place in a car and, on one occasion, in an Orange Hall.

Crown counsel Kate McKay said Harbinson allegedly told the girl he could not wait until she was 16.

The court was told a computer and five mobile phones were seized from his home.

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