Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man faces 28 charges including rape and false imprisonment

By Paul Higgins

A Co Antrim man has been ordered to stand trial accused of a catalogue of sex offences against a woman he allegedly held against her will.

Albert Nelson (30) appeared at Newtownards Magistrates Court yesterday, where he confirmed he was aware of the 28 charges he faces.

Nelson also confirmed that he had no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry, the legal step necessary to refer a case upwards to the higher Crown Court.

Nelson, from the Low Road in Islandmagee, is accused of 14 sex charges, which were all allegedly committed against the same female on various dates between November 30, 2015 and August 24 last year.

He faces 11 counts of rape; one count of attempted rape and two counts of sexual assault involving a hand and a beard trimmer.

The other half of the indictment accused Nelson of two counts of false imprisonment, two of issuing threats to kill the victim and her family, inflicting actual bodily harm, possessing a prohibited weapon, namely a canister of CS spray, possessing class B cannabis and seven charges of common assault.

While none of the facts or circumstances surrounding the plethora of allegations were opened in court, a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a case to answer for Nelson, a submission which defence solicitor Jennifer Kelly took no issue with.

The court clerk told Nelson, who stood in the dock flanked by a prison officer, that although not obliged to he had the right to comment on the charges, give evidence himself or call witnesses on his behalf but that anyone giving evidence would be subject to cross examination.

Looking to Mrs Kelly for guidance, Nelson declined the opportunity.

Freeing Nelson on continuing bail, the terms of which bar him from contacting his alleged victim or being close to her address, District Judge Mark Hamill returned the case to Downpatrick Crown Court for trial.

The judge extended legal aid to allow a senior barrister to be instructed.

He ordered Nelson to appear at the higher court for his arraignment on January 18.

Belfast Telegraph

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