Belfast Telegraph

Teenager to deny sex offence charges against Belfast school pupils

A teenager accused of sex offences against two boys attending the same school in Belfast is to deny all charges, a court has heard.

The 19-year-old is alleged to have targeted both pupils, showing them porn images and inciting them to engage in sexual activity.

The suspect, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is also accused of carrying out a sex act in the presence of a child.

All of the alleged offences occurred in the city between September and November last year. Belfast Magistrates Court heard yesterday that four of the original 10 charges are to be withdrawn. A defence lawyer confirmed: “I'm instructed there will be not guilty pleas in relation to all six [remaining] charges.”

The accused attended court with his mother for the brief hearing. District Judge Fiona Bagnall set out the potential consequences of denying the charges.

She told him: “If you are convicted of these offences you lose any credit in sentencing.”

Judge Bagnall is now to decide whether she can hear the case or send it to Crown Court.

Adjourning proceedings, she added: “I appreciate that the prosecution have taken the view that this should be tried in the Magistrates Court.

“But I want to look at it and see if I'm content with the jurisdiction.”

The accused was released on continuing bail to appear again in two weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph

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