A self-confessed paedophile who admitted sexually abusing five girls over the space of a decade more than 30 years ago has been remanded into custody after he sacked his legal team.
Former north Belfast community worker, 70-year-old James MacNulty, had been on trial at Belfast Crown Court for allegedly raping one of his victims.
As the defence case was due to start, however, MacNulty dismissed his legal team.
Discharging the jury, trial Judge Geoffrey Millar QC told the eight men and four women he could understand their frustration at the development but that the trial would not proceed for some months.
MacNulty, from University Street in Belfast, was accused of raping the woman on a date unknown between December 1974 and January 1977.
However, the perverted pensioner had already admitted indecently assaulting and committing acts of gross indecency with her and four other females, totalling 22 sex offences between December 1970 and January 1981, before the trial began.
Opening the rape trial last Thursday, prosecutor Philip Mateer claimed MacNulty raped the youngster after putting her face into blankets.
She began to cry, said the QC, but he ordered her to stop.
He also told her that if anyone was to ask her why she'd been crying, she was to say she had “bumped her head”.
The lawyer claimed that MacNulty had initially exposed himself to the girl. This allegedly progressed to him getting her to touch him and then him touching her.
Mr Mateer claimed that when arrested and questioned by police, MacNulty readily admitted he had exposed himself to children, and that he had got one girl to touch him, but maintained that he did not rape her or anyone.
Revoking MacNulty's bail, Judge Millar told him he should get new legal representation for the trial which has been listed at the end of November.
The judge also ordered that he also sign the police sex offenders’ register.