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Cliftonville footballer Jay Donnelly accused of child porn charges back on pitch

By Staff Reporter

A Cliftonville star striker facing charges of taking and distributing an indecent image of a child played for the club on Saturday - and scored in the third minute.

Jay Donnelly appeared for the Reds in the north Belfast club's 5-0 Irish League victory over Ballinamallard United at Solitude.

The 22-year-old also had several near misses against the Fermanagh visitors before being substituted in the 64th minute.

Just five days earlier, the criminal case against Donnelly opened at Belfast Magistrates' Court and was adjourned.

Donnelly, of Ardilea Drive in Ardoyne, has been accused of two offences.

Following a brief hearing last Monday the case was adjourned after Donnelly's lawyer asked for the prosecution to "particularise" the dates of the alleged offences.

He is alleged to have taken an indecent photograph of a child on June 28 last year.

He is also accused of distributing or showing the image between June 28, 2016, and October 25, 2016. No pleas were entered to the charges and Donnelly did not appear in person.

District Judge Amanda Henderson set a date of Wednesday, November 22, for a second hearing to be held.

Ahead of the hearing, Cliftonville said it had only become aware that Donnelly was due in court after being contacted by the Sunday Life for a comment.

That day he started for the side in their 3-0 home victory against Carrick Rangers.

Fans called for Donnelly to be suspended pending the outcome of the case. Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor has said that the club was "investigating and seeking advice on the matter".

Donnelly rose through the club's youth teams and second string, Cliftonville Olympic, before starting for the senior squad.

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