Belfast Telegraph

Top Orangeman denies sexual abuse of three children

A prominent Orangeman went on trial yesterday accused of sexually abusing two girls and a schoolboy.



Craigavon Crown Court heard that Mark Harbinson (44), of Sheepwalk Road in Lisburn, was caught by police with one of his alleged victims in his car on October 26, 2009, three days after topless photos of her were found on his mobile phone.

In all the Co Antrim man denies a total of 13 charges alleged to have taken place between January 2007 and October 2009.

The first 11 relate to sexual activity with a child and inciting such activity.

They involved the girl found in his car, who told police how during 2009 Harbinson had initially begged for kisses before sexually abusing her, once in his own band hall in Stoneyford, Co Antrim. Two other charges of indecent assault involve a 14-year-old schoolgirl and a 13-year-old boy, whom Harbinson allegedly sexually abused in February 2007.

Prosecuting QC David Hunter told Judge Desmond Marrinan that during his police interviews Harbinson “has denied committing any of these offences. He denied it then and denies it now”.

Mr Hunter added that the case essentially “boils down to... whether the girls and the boy have told you the truth”.

Earlier the prosecution lawyer described Harbinson as a “prominent and regular member” of Stoneyford Pride of the Village Flute Band, and that following a search of his home on October 23, 2009 police found two semi-naked photos of a 13-year-old girl on his mobile phone.

The trial continues today.

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