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Two teen girls 'victims of opportunistic rapes' in Belfast park, court told

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The alleged assaults happened in Ormeau Park earlier this month. Credit: Pacemaker

The alleged assaults happened in Ormeau Park earlier this month. Credit: Pacemaker

The alleged assaults happened in Ormeau Park earlier this month. Credit: Pacemaker

Two teenage girls were the alleged victims of "opportunistic" rapes in south Belfast, a court has been told.

Police claimed 22-year-old Pawel Kalandyk sexually assaulted one of them at Ormeau Park on June 13.

A judge was also told that a second suspect has since left Northern Ireland and travelled to Poland.

Kalandyk, a warehouse assistant with an address at Dunvegan Street in the city, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday charged with one count of rape.

The Polish national denies the offence, claiming any sexual contact was consensual.

He was arrested as part of the investigation into the alleged evening attacks at the park.

Opposing Kalandyk's application for bail, a detective expressed concerns he may flee if released.

"The co-accused has already left the country for Poland," he said.

"There's also a significant risk to the public; this was an opportunistic rape of young females in broad daylight in a public area."

During police questioning Kalandyk insisted there had been full sexual consent.

"He said she was the one who wanted it, she was the instigator," the detective confirmed.

Defence solicitor Robert Murtagh argued that his client provided a "full and forthright interview".

The lawyer added: "This man does not know the identity or whereabouts of these two young ladies."

Granting bail, District Judge Mark Hamill pointed out that any trial is likely to be at least a year away.

He imposed a curfew, electronic tagging and ordered the accused to surrender his passport.

Mr Hamill also stressed: "He's barred from Ormeau Park."

Kalandyk is due to appear in court again in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph