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Court urged to speed up rape case due to ill-health of accused James Wright

By Staff Reporter

Published 01/12/2016

James Wright at an earlier court appearance
James Wright at an earlier court appearance

A barrister has asked for proceedings in a case of alleged rape to be speeded up following a deterioration in his client's health "due to the prison environment".

The request was made at Dungannon Magistrates Court whilst judicial review proceedings were simultaneously under way in Belfast against a health trust who are unable to accommodate the accused, despite significant mental health issues.

James Wright (23), of Derrylee Road, Dungannon, is accused of an ambush-style attack on a female in nearby Peatlands Park.

The woman was allegedly targeted while walking her dog on the afternoon of April 27 this year.

Wright has been remanded in custody since his first appearance in court when bail was refused.

However, subsequent High Court applications were successful, in that bail was granted subject to placement in appropriate accommodation.

High Court Judge Mr Justice O'Hara had expressed concern that Wright remained in Maghaberry Prison given his learning difficulties and attempts to self-harm.

A defence barrister told Dungannon Magistrates Court: "It is imperative this matter is expedited. My client's condition has deteriorated due to the prison environment. He is at risk of being sectioned."

The defence added: "A Judicial Review is being heard at High Court as we speak."

This relates to action taken on Wright's behalf against the Southern Health & Social Care Trust who will not provide appropriate accommodation to which he can be released on bail.

The Judicial Review proceedings had previously been subject to reporting restrictions but these were lifted yesterday.

In respect of the criminal matter, District Judge John Meehan ordered a preliminary enquiry to be arranged as soon as possible with a view to having Wright's case committed to Crown Court early in the new year.

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