Cookstown man cleared of rape charge

Dungannon Courthouse
Dungannon Courthouse

A Cookstown man has been acquitted of rape after a judge intervened and halted the trial.

Desmond Bell (47) of Gortacar Road had been accused of raping and assaulting a woman on 21 June 2014.

Mr Bell maintained his innocence from the outset and his trial commenced at Dungannon Crown Court on February 3.

However after eight days at hearing, Judge Paul Ramsay stopped the case and directed the jury to find Mr Bell not guilty on all counts.

Jim Gallagher QC and Ian Turkington BL, instructed by Toal and Heron Solicitors appeared for the defendant.

In a statement issued through his solicitors, Mr Bell said: “This has been a terrible time for myself and my family, However I was certain I would be cleared and I am extremely relieved the entire process has concluded.”