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Caretaker's sex attack conviction is quashed

By Alan Erwin

Published 07/07/2016

A former primary school caretaker jailed for indecent assaults on a teenage girl has won an appeal against his conviction
A former primary school caretaker jailed for indecent assaults on a teenage girl has won an appeal against his conviction

A former primary school caretaker jailed for indecent assaults on a teenage girl has won an appeal against his conviction.

Senior judges in Belfast quashed the guilty verdict against David McFerran because the jury was not warned that evidence against him lacked independence.

However, they dismissed a separate bid by his father, Harry, to overturn convictions for sexually abusing two young brothers over a 10-year period.

In May 2014, David McFerran was handed a 12-month sentence and banned from working with children after a jury found him guilty of five charges.

The 34-year-old, of Orangefield Road, Belfast, allegedly carried out indecent assaults on the girl twice between 1999 and 2002.

The Court of Appeal heard the prosecution relied on witnesses who recalled what the complainant told them had happened.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan pointed out that the trial judge had not advised jurors the accounts were not independent.

Quashing David McFerran's conviction, Sir Declan confirmed no retrial would be ordered as the sentence had been served.

Harry McFerran (70), formerly of Orangefield Parade, Belfast, was appealing against conviction of a catalogue of historical abuse for which he received a 16-year prison sentence in May 2014.

He was said to have targeted the brothers on dates stretching back more than four decades.

But Sir Declan ruled: "We do not consider any matters raised give rise to any concern about the safety of this conviction."

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