Belfast Telegraph

Man grabbed woman and attempted to kiss her in Belfast Victoria Square, court told

The woman was waiting for a shop to open.
The woman was waiting for a shop to open.

By Alan Erwin

A woman was allegedly grabbed by a man attempting to kiss her as she waited to start work at a Belfast shopping centre, the High Court heard.

She managed to struggle free before fleeing from the encounter at Victoria Square last Sunday, prosecutors said.

Martin Coll, 57, of Flush Park in Lisburn, Co Antrim, denies charges of sexual and common assault.

On Friday bail was refused amid claims he poses a high risk of re-offending.

Coll allegedly targeted the woman while she sat on a bench waiting for her shop manager to open up.

She told police he appeared to be intoxicated and approached her asking if she smoked or drank, the court heard.

According to the prosecution he then took hold of her hand and kissed it, grabbing it tighter when she tried to get away.

A Crown lawyer alleged: "He then took the back of her neck, pulling her face towards him in an attempt to kiss her."

The woman was said to have resisted, forcing her elbow into his chest and breaking free.

She ran to others in the centre before police were alerted.

Following his arrest Coll accepted being in Victoria Square but denied any approach to the complainant, describing her account as "lies".

Opposing bail, the prosecution said he remains subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order until next month.

Defence counsel contended that Coll is a vulnerable individual with learning difficulties.

"He's denying the charges and entitled to the presumption of innocence," the barrister added.

But ruling the accused must remain in custody, His Honour Judge Grant said: "Under no circumstances am I prepared to admit this defendant to bail."

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