Belfast Telegraph

Man in court accused of raping woman after wedding

'The 42-year-old, of Winchester Park, Londonderry, is accused of raping a woman on Friday. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early hours after a wedding on Lusty Beg Island, Kesh' (stock photo)
'The 42-year-old, of Winchester Park, Londonderry, is accused of raping a woman on Friday. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early hours after a wedding on Lusty Beg Island, Kesh' (stock photo)

By Staff Reporter

A man has appeared in court accused of raping a woman after a wedding at a Co Fermanagh beauty spot.

Jason McCaferty appeared at a special sitting of Omagh Magistrates Court yesterday.

The 42-year-old, of Winchester Park, Londonderry, is accused of raping a woman on Friday. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early hours after a wedding on Lusty Beg Island, Kesh.

A detective constable said she could connect the accused to the charge.

She explained police spoke with the complainant and three witnesses and all are willing to give evidence.

It was conceded no statements have been taken, as guests were trying to keep the incident from the bride and groom, to allow them to get off on honeymoon and not have their event affected.

However, the defence took issue with the absence of statements or evidence.

He argued that, with only verbal accounts, there was "no evidence before the court".

It was contended that McCaferty was arrested at 6am on Friday and found himself charged with rape 12 hours later, without any evidence put to him during interview.

The defence said: "The evidential test for connection to this very serious charge is not met and is massively prejudicial. I believe my client should be released at once without charge."

Judge Barney McElholm acknowledged the situation was "certainly very unusual" and enquired of police-obtained bodyworn footage of witness accounts at the scene.

The detective confirmed while an officer did activate a bodyworn camera, the angle was wrong and the sound was very poor, rendering the footage unusable.

The judge held not all evidence would be given in writing and the test for connection to the charge was "the lowest possible hurdle."

But while understanding the sensitivities of the occasion in question, Judge McElholm pointed out police have a duty to gather evidence.

Moving to bail, the detective said this was opposed on the grounds of potential witness interference.

Countering this, the defence contended bail should be granted and his client would abide by all conditions imposed.

Judge McElholm agreed to bail, setting this at £750, and placed a ban on entering specified areas of Londonderry. The case itself will appear before Enniskillen Magistrates Court next month.

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