Man accused of grooming and raping child is bailed
A Co Antrim man is to stand trial accused of sexually grooming and raping a child in Belfast.
Jonathan Woodside (33), faces charges related to an alleged campaign of abuse.
His identity was previously protected, due to fears he was under threat, but reporting restrictions in the case were lifted early this year.
Woodside, formerly of Whitewell Road in Newtownabbey, is charged with three counts of rape, causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and sexual assault.
He is further alleged to have met a child following sexual grooming and been in possession of an indecent photograph of a child. The charges all relate to dates during 2013 and 2014.
Appearing before Belfast Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary hearing, Woodside entered with the aid of a crutch. He spoke to confirm that he understood the alleged offences. The defendant declined to give evidence or call any witnesses during the hearing.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted an application to have him returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court, on a date to be fixed.
Woodside was released on continuing bail, with conditions not to contact the alleged victim and a ban on unsupervised contact with children.