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Priest’s abuse case adjourned

By Lesley-Anne Henry

A fourth witness has come forward in the case against a former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing teenage boys almost 30 years ago.

Father James Donaghy from Lady Wallace Drive, Lisburn, is facing a string of allegations including buggery, gross indecent assault against a child and threats to kill.

The offences, which also include five counts of attempted buggery and five counts of indecent assault on a male, are alleged to have been committed against boys under 16 between 1983 and 2000.

In the dock at Laganside Magistrates Court yesterday dressed in a grey suit, white shirt and pink and blue tie, 52-year-old Donaghy stared straight ahead and did not speak throughout the short hearing.

The priest stepped down from his ministry at the Most Holy Redeemer Church, Ballyholme, Co Down, in March 2004 after allegations by two individuals emerged, but is still regarded as a member of the Catholic clergy.

It is understood he had been working for easyJet at Belfast International Airport before being charged in January 2010.

At a hearing in Laganside Magistrate’s Court yesterday Prosecution barrister Garrett O’Kane revealed a fourth witness from the Republic has come forward and further statements would have to be taken.

Requesting a six week adjournment, Mr O’Kane said an officer was dealing with a total of 16 interviews. District Judge Fiona Bagnall raised no objections to the adjournment.

Donaghy was released on bail to appear on June 11.

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