Belfast Telegraph

Belfast teen faces child rape claim trial - accused of sex assaults against young relatives

The accused,appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court
The accused,appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court

By Alan Erwin

A 19-year-old man is to stand trial for alleged sexual assaults on three young relatives, a judge has ordered. .

The accused, who is not being named, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on charges including child rape.

He allegedly committed offences against two girls and a boy at locations in the north and west of the city on dates between January 2011 and December 2015.

All three alleged victims are understood to have family connections to the defendant.

He faces two counts of raping a child under 13, a further attempted rape, seven sexual assaults of a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing the accused confirmed that he understood the allegations against him.

He shook his head when asked if he wanted to give evidence or call witnesses at this stage.

Backing prosecution submissions that he has a case to answer, District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted an application to have him returned for Crown Court trial.

She also agreed to certify two defence barristers after the seriousness of the case was set out.

The accused's lawyer, Paul Farrell, said: "These are some of the most grave alleged offences, involving activity with children.

"There are multiple complainants and the defendant was a youth himself at the time of the alleged offences.

"It's in the interests of justice, and the exceptional circumstances, that senior counsel should represent him."

Mrs Bagnall agreed to release the accused on £500 bail until his trial gets underway on a date to be fixed.

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