Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of raping woman he met at Belfast Christian network group

A Belfast man is to stand trial for the alleged rape of a woman he met through a Christian networking group, a judge ordered today.

The 37-year-old defendant is accused of carrying out the attack in December 2017.

He is not being named to protect the alleged victim's identity.

The man appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court for the first time to face charges of rape and sexual assault by penetration.

He spoke only to confirm that he understood the allegations against him and declined to call witnesses or give evidence during the preliminary enquiry.

It is understood that the defendant and the woman he is accused of raping both attended the same church in the city.

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne backed prosecution submissions that the man has a case to answer.

Mr Browne granted an application to have the accused returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.

With the man released on continuing bail, his barrister Sean O'Hare secured authorisation for two counsel to represent him due to the "substantial and complex issues" involved.

After studying written submissions, the judge said: "It's immediately clear that this is an extremely serious case - not only the charges but the nature of the case."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph