Belfast Telegraph

Ex-rugby star Tweed 'lived a lie'

A former Ireland rugby international facing a string of child sex abuse allegations lived a lie, a court has been told.

David Tweed is on trial at Antrim Crown Court accused of abusing two young girls who are now adults.

Mr Tweed, who is a Ballymena councillor, is charged with abusing the girls over an eight-year period. He denies all 14 counts of indecent assault, gross indecency and inciting gross indecency.

During closing submissions Crown Prosecution barrister Laura Levers QC said Mr Tweed, who played rugby for Ulster and Ireland, was able to hide behind his sporting achievements and position in society. She said: "He was a big, powerful man (with) charisma, sporting prowess - the perfect veil to hide behind and the ultimate in living a lie."

Ms Levers claimed Mr Tweed's defence team was clutching at straws and trying to explain the inexplicable. She added: "He is clearly contradicting himself, in effect, to explain how and why these allegations occurred."

The jury of 10 women and two men were told to set aside their emotions and decide the outcome of the case dispassionately. The trial, which has lasted for three weeks, is being heard by Judge Alistair Devlin. He said the hearing had now reached a crucial stage with all the evidence presented.

Mr Tweed appeared in the dock dressed in a dark suit with purple tie and striped shirt. For the most part, he sat with his arms folded chewing gum. However, as details of the alleged abuse were put to the jury he occasionally shook his head.

In his closing speech, defence barrister Laurence McCrudden QC said that allegations of sexual abuse were easy to make but difficult to refute.

He claimed the two girls' memories had become distorted and that the allegations were dangerous phantoms. He said flashbacks that one of the alleged victims claimed to have suffered were not true memories. "They have grown and become distorted and disfigured with the passage of time," he told the court.

Judge Devlin told the jury members they would not be put under any time pressure to decide on a verdict when they rise to deliberate next week. The trial continues.


From Belfast Telegraph