Hung jury in case of Bangor woman accused of molesting girl
A woman accused of sexually molesting a little girl 15 years ago faces another trial after a jury failed to reach verdicts.
The Downpatrick Crown Court jury had deliberated for three-and-a-half hours over two days before telling the court they could not agree on verdicts of guilt or innocence against 30-year-old Karen Walker.
They had deliberated for two hours on Thursday and were given a majority direction on Friday morning, with trial Judge Gordon Kerr QC indicating that he could accept verdicts on the five counts where at least ten were agreed.
Despite that direction and a further hour of deliberations, the foreperson indicated the jury were hung.
Walker, from Bexley Road in Bangor, faces two charges of indecent assault and three counts relating to acts of gross indecency with a child on dates between 1 January 1998 and 17 January 2000 when her alleged victim was between seven and ten years old.
Opening the prosecuting case against Walker last Monday, prosecuting lawyer Samuel Magee claimed Walker touched the girl's private parts and incited the alleged victim to touch her after telling her "I'll be the man and you be the woman."
He told the jury that sometimes, Walker reversed the ascribed roles but that she allegedly told her victim the alleged sexual activity was "our wee thing."
Mr Magee said while he accepted Walker herself would have been a young teenager at the time of the alleged abuse, "she was old enough, we say, to know what she was doing and to comprehend how inappropriate her actions were."
The lawyer described how the alleged victim could remember the first incident when Walker convinced her to change her lower clothing to track suit bottoms before allegedly touching her private parts.
"She even remembers the brand of track suit bottoms," said Mr Magee adding that on the Crown case, she changed at Walker's behest "to make it easier for the defendant to access the young girl's intimate parts."
The jury watched a 55 minute video of the alleged victim's interview with police where she claimed that incident wasn't "one-off," further claiming there were other incidents where she was touched inappropriately or when Walker "got on top of her and began rubbing herself" against the girl.
Walker was arrested and interviewed about the allegations in August last year but denied any wrongdoing.
Giving evidence on her own behalf, Walker maintained her claims that she had done nothing wrong and had not engaged in any sexual activity with the child.
Following the jury's hung verdicts, Mr Magee told Judge Kerr there would be a retrial and asked for the case to be listed this Tuesday to set a date for that.