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Antrim man fails to overturn child abuse convictions

Court of appeal upholds charges of abuse by man aged 64 against seven children

By Alan Irwin

A Co Antrim man jailed for sexually abusing seven children failed today in a bid to overturn his convictions. Judges in the Court of Appeal rejected claims that flawed directions to the jury rendered the guilty verdict unsafe.

The 64-year-old man, who cannot be named, was found to have molesting his victims over a 19-year period.

In 2014 he was handed an 11-year prison sentence after being convicted of 38 offences, including indecent assault and gross indecency with or towards a child.

His campaign of abuse was directed at six boys and one girl over a period from December 1986 to January 2006.

The children were all aged between five and fifteen when they were targeted.

One victim gave evidence of being abused after joining a charitable organisation where the man taught first aid as a volunteer leader.

He described being assaulted after the appellant claimed he could demonstrate how to take a pulse on different parts of the body.

Another complainant told of being touched by the man as he was teaching him how to swim.

Defence lawyers advanced five grounds of challenge to the guilty verdict.

They centred their case on claims that the trial judge failed to give proper directions to jurors on the charges, evidence and their client's previous good character.

However, Mr Justice Stephens, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, rejected all attempts to have the case re-opened.

He said: "We consider that none of the matters raised on behalf of the appellant, either separately or in combination, give rise to any concern about the safety of the convictions."

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