Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man to stand trial accused of sexually abusing step daughter for nine years

Belfast Magistrates' Court.
Belfast Magistrates' Court.

By Alan Erwin

An east Belfast man is to stand trial for allegedly subjecting his step daughter to a nine-year campaign of sexual abuse, a judge ordered today.

The 55-year-old appeared before the city's Magistrates Court to face five charges of gross indecency with a child.

He is further accused of indecently assaulting a second female.

The alleged offences were committed on dates between January 1990 and January 1998.

The man cannot be named to protect the identities of both complainants.

During a preliminary enquiry he confirmed that he understood the charges.

He declined to give evidence or call witnesses during the brief hearing.

Defence counsel Sean O'Hare did not contest prosecution submissions that his client has a case to answer.

On that basis District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted an application to have the accused returned for Crown Court trial.

He was released on continuing bail until those proceedings get underway on a date to be fixed.

Attempts are being made to have two barristers certified to represent him at trial due to the complexities of the case.

Mr O'Hare set out how the accused faced historical allegations involving substantial issues of law.

A decision on whether to allow legal aid for two counsel will be made later.

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