Belfast Telegraph

Retired Belfast priest facing historic indecent assault trial

Fr Murray faces counts of indecently assaulting three complainants on dates between 1976 and 1988.
Fr Murray faces counts of indecently assaulting three complainants on dates between 1976 and 1988.

By Alan Erwin

A retired priest is to stand trial accused of indecent assaults on three females up to 40 years ago, a judge has ruled.

Fr John Murray appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on charges linked to a police investigation into alleged historical clerical sexual abuse in the city.

The 78-year-old, with an address at Marguerite Avenue in Newcastle, Co Down, was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair by his solicitor Denis Moloney.

Fr Murray faces counts of indecently assaulting three complainants on dates between 1976 and 1988.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing the retired cleric, who had served at St Matthew's in east Belfast, declined to give evidence or call witnesses.

Defence counsel Finbar Lavery did not contest prosecution submissions that the accused has a case to answer.

On that basis Deputy District Judge Alan White granted an application to have Fr Murray returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.

He released the accused on continuing bail.

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