Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Belfast bus driver (64) denies sexually assaulting teenage boy in KFC car park

In cross-examination by prosecution counsel David Russell, the former bus driver refuted that he had had
In cross-examination by prosecution counsel David Russell, the former bus driver refuted that he had had "a sexual interest" in the youth, and while he claimed he found it "hard to recall" matters, he denied it was "because of the lies you have told" (stock photo)

By Michael Donnelly

A former school-bus driver accused of sexually assaulting a teenager maintained there was "absolutely" no truth in the allegations against him, the court heard yesterday.

The now 64-year-old driver, James McCluskey was giving evidence at his Belfast Crown Court trial yesterday, where he stands accused of two charges, one of sexual assault and one of inciting a child to take indecent images of himself, both in November 2013.

The bus driver, from Arizona Street in west Belfast, accepted that he had taken the then 16-year-old to KFC, although he accepted he should have sought permission from the teen's aunt beforehand, but rejected suggestions they had gone there twice more.

"I had no sexual interest in him at all," he said at one stage, after having told the jury of six women and six men that he had only taken him for a meal, "just to catch up with him, and to see how he was getting on, and for no other reason".

Asked by his defence counsel Sean O'Hare if he had sexually assaulted the teen in his car, he replied: "I totally reject that allegation, nothing untoward happened in that car park in KFC ... I totally refute that ... absolutely, totally refute that, totally refute that."

McCluskey added later that there was "absolutely no way I would have done anything like that in the well-lit car park".

"What truth is there in any of the allegations?" asked Mr O'Hare, to which he replied: "Absolutely none ... absolutely not."

Later he said there was "no truth whatever. I didn't assault him in any way in that car, I totally refute that" - although he did accept that "looking back I think it was inappropriate to text" the teenager after their meeting.

In cross-examination by prosecution counsel David Russell, the former bus driver refuted that he had had "a sexual interest" in the youth, and while he claimed he found it "hard to recall" matters, he denied it was "because of the lies you have told".

At hearing.

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