A solicitor facing accusations of sexually assaulting a woman can be named, a judge has ruled.
Following legal submissions from the media, defence and prosecution at Downpatrick Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said naming Christopher Logue (33) was in the public interest.
"My view is that if there is fair and accurate reporting of the defendant's name, there would not be any substantial risk to the administration of justice," the judge said.
He added that he could not "see how the publication of his name could possibly prejudice" the future of the case.
Mr Logue, from Lady Wallace Crescent in Lisburn, was not in court to hear the arguments or the judge's ruling.
He is charged with committing sexual assault on November 23 last year, with "the circumstances being that the touching was sexual, that (the woman) did not consent to the touching and you (Logue) did not reasonably believe that she so consented," the court heard.
A temporary reporting restriction had been put in place at the end of August.
Defence QC Eugene Grant had earlier argued that to name Mr Logue would prejudice the administration of justice in circumstances where "there's not a scintilla of evidence" to substantiate the allegations and in circumstances where he would be applying, at a later date, to have the case dismissed.
He further submitted that to name the Co Down-based solicitor, given the nature of the alleged crime, would result in the loss of his personal and professional reputation. On behalf of the media, however, Frances Lynch argued that Mr Grant had not produced any evidence to support his claims – which he was required to do – and that there were "examples across the board" of professional people being charged with crimes "ranging from judges right through to solicitors".
She said that the barring order, sought under the Contempt of Court Act, was not "a vehicle for the comfort or welfare of a defendant" and that if the case was reported and Mr Logue ultimately acquitted, his reputation would be "vindicated" as a result of the reporting of the proceedings.
The barrister also submitted that as the case would be dealt with by a judge sitting alone in a Magistrates Court, there would be no potential prejudice to any jury trying the case.
Ms Lynch's arguments were also echoed by a prosecution lawyer, who told the court that "on a daily basis we see people brought to the courts from every profession – teachers, doctors, social workers and members of the legal profession – and they are not afforded the benefit of not being put before the public".
The lawyer revealed that despite Mr Grant's claims over a lack of evidence, the alleged incident had been captured on CCTV and many witness statements had already been taken.
Concluding his ruling and listing the case for trial on December 2, judge Broderick told the court: "I do not see any reason that I should exercise my discretion or statutory power under section 4.2, and for those reasons I'm obliged to refuse Mr Grant's application."