Leading loyalist charged with raping 13-year-old girl
Prominent loyalist Mark Harbinson has been remanded in custody after being charged with the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Harbinson (42), from Sheepwalk Road in Stoneyford, faces five charges involving the young girl including possessing indecent photographs of children and sexual touching of a person under 16.
Appearing at Lisburn Magistrates Court yesterday, the court heard Harbinson’s home was searched by police on October 23 and mobile phones were seized.
Harbinson was later arrested on October 26 in his vehicle. The young girl was also in the vehicle.
The court heard that eight mobiles were seized altogether during the two incidents.
After examination by police two indecent images were discovered on the mobile phones, the court was told.
During yesterday’s hearing an investigating officer said he could connect Harbinson to the charges.
During interviews Harbinson had told police the reason he was with the girl was that he had become “paranoid” following police intervention and that he wanted to speak to the girl to tell her to get a new phone.
It is understood the defendant met the girl at Stoneyford Orange hall through his involvement with a band.
The officer said the investigation was “at a very early stage” but objected to an application for bail due to a number of concerns.
He told District Judge Rosie Watters this included a fear the defendant would attempt to contact the victim or abscond.
A defence solicitor told the court his client “vehemently” denied all the charges, adding that a number of conditions could be set, including a ban on the use of mobile phones, to allow bail.
Judge Watters, however, said that would be “impossible to police”. Defence counsel also said he provided the main source of income for his wife and six-month-old son.
An application for bail, however, was denied with Judge Watters describing the charges as “very serious”.
Harbinson was remanded in custody to reappear via videolink on the November 24.