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Ex-top jeweller denies child sex charge

Nigel O'Hara

A former well-known jewellery store owner has appeared in court to deny a child sex charge.

Nigel O'Hara - whose Portadown shop was once described as the "most complained about business in Northern Ireland" - was forced to closed down with debts of almost £2m in 2018. The store had been trading in the town for more than 40 years.

O'Hara (65) of Ballyknock Road, Tandragee, appeared at Newry Crown Court on Thursday charged with three counts of indecent assault on a female and one count of gross indecency with a child on dates unknown from May 2001 and September 2002. The charges relate to the same female.

The accused's wife and son appeared in the gallery in support of Mr O'Hara who stood in the dock to be arraigned on all four charges.

The arraignment was split into two pleas with the three charges of indecent assault together and the charge of gross indecency with a child taken in a separate plea.

Seven witnesses are being agreed in the case with one outstanding.

His Honour Judge Gordon Kerr adjourned the special measures application to April 21.

No objections were made for Mr O'Hara to continue with ongoing bail.

The trial was listed for May 4.

In 2017, Mr O'Hara was banned from being a director for seven years over unfit conduct as a director of the JRN Retail Group - mainly for failing to maintain adequate accounting records.

At the time, Trading Standards revealed that between July and September 2014, O'Hara's jewellery firm became "the most complained about business" to the government body.

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Belfast Telegraph