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Ex-Jesus Christ Superstar star Anderson accused over child porn is now facing rape charge

By Paul Higgins

An former reality TV show singing star facing accusations of voyeurism and child porn has now been charged with rape.

As well as the new rape allegation levelled at 26-year-old Jeffrey Anderson at Newtownards Magistrates Court, he was further charged with more voyeurism offences.

In total Anderson, from Crawfordsburn Road in Newtownards, is facing 17 charges for offences, including theft, specifically stealing photographs in 2011 from a female he is also alleged to have secretly recorded, three counts of possessing indecent images of children in 2013 and 12 counts of voyeurism on various dates between August 2005 and August 2013, alleging that for sexual gratification he "recorded another doing a private act, knowing that the other person did not consent to being recorded".

The most serious offence alleges that Anderson raped a female, whom he is also charged with covertly recording for sexual thrills.

A preliminary enquiry had been scheduled to take place yesterday, but instead defence solicitor Paul Dougan applied for that to be adjourned for a mix committal preliminary investigation.

Mr Dougan told District Judge Mark Hamill the preliminary investigation in Anderson's case will last up to four days during which "potentially 11 to 13 witnesses" will be called to give evidence, including the female that Anderson is alleged to have raped.

"I can tell you from the Bar that every witness will be questioned," warned the lawyer, adding that the preliminary investigation was "genuine and being taken for entirely appropriate and proper purposes".

Judge Hamill was incredulous, however, highlighting the fact that an alleged rape victim "will have to take the witness box and be cross-examined not once, but twice".

"This is something that the rest of the UK don't have, indeed nowhere in Europe has this," said the judge, demanding to know if there was legal authority that a woman who alleges she was raped "can be compelled to give evidence in a pre-trial committal hearing".

"This complainant has made a six-page deposition, she has to go into that witness box to be taken through that laboriously, every question and answer typed and then she's subjected to cross-examination, every question typed and every answer typed, this is what you are asking," Judge Hamill said.

Mr Dougan said while the statement which grounds the rape allegation "is quite usual in the manner" it's made, Anderson "denies the allegation in the strongest possible terms".

"He is quite entitled to seek a mixed committal," said the lawyer. "And whilst it may be difficult for the alleged injured party, it is equally difficult for the defendant, who denies his guilt of that allegation."

Adjourning the case to January 17, Judge Hamill said he wanted to know if the defence was allowed to call the alleged rape victim, how long any potential preliminary investigation could last and witness availability.

Previous courts have heard that charges were brought against Anderson after an investigation from police lasting more than two years.

Anderson shot to prominence when he took part in Andrew Lloyd Webber's ITV talent show Jesus Christ Superstar, earning the nickname "baby Jesus" as the show's youngest contestant.

And although he didn't win the part of Jesus, he went on to be chosen as the understudy and toured the UK with the production.

He appeared on TV screens again in 2014 when he took part in BBC singing show The Voice, but he failed to impress judges and didn't make it past the audition stage.

As part of his bail conditions Anderson is prohibited from carrying, or being in possession of, any device intended or capable of recording still and moving images, excluding mobile phones; is not allowed to leave the UK or apply for a passport, speak to any prosecution witness, and must report to police once a week.

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