Belfast Telegraph

Armagh florist charged with sexually touching man with mental disorder

By Sara Girvin

This is the Armagh florist accused of sexually touching a man with a mental disorder while having responsibility for him as a care worker.

Philip Crane stands charged with intentionally and sexually touching the man who “could not refuse” because he suffers from a mental disorder.

The 48-year-old is also charged with sexual activity against the man by a care worker.

Both alleged offences are said to have been carried out on July 23 last year.

Appearing at Newry Crown Court on Thursday, smartly dressed Crane from Bests Row in the Umgola area of Armagh was arraigned on the second charge and pleaded not guilty.

The court was told that Crane works as a driver transporting people with mental and physical disabilities, but he is also the owner of Armagh Blooms, which sells flowers and gifts in the city.

The court heard that Crane’s alleged victim made a complaint that Crane had run his hand up the inside of his leg and brushed his genitals in a sexual manner. The man said he asked Crane: “What are you doing?”

A prosecution barrister then revealed it was Crane’s version of events that he had touched the man on the leg, but not in a sexual way.

Crane’s defence argued there wasn’t a sufficient case against his client to go to trial on the first charge against him — and asked His Honour Judge Finnegan QC to make a No Bill order.

During legal arguments, the barrister said that while Crane’s alleged victim had been described as “unable to refuse” because of his condition — he suffers from learning difficulties rather than a serious mental disorder.

The barrister said a medical report found the alleged injured party lived successfully in the community with the support of his family and was able to meet his own daily needs.

“The charge is worded to say the alleged victim was unable to refuse, but he was able to refuse,” the barrister said.

Prosecution argued such matters would be for a jury to decide.

Crane will appear at court again next month.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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