Cookstown woman charged with historical sex assaults, loses reporting ban application

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A district judge has dismissed an application to ban the media from reporting the identity of a woman accused of historical sexual offences.

Dressed completely in black Marion Loughran (61) of Beaghbeg Road, Cookstown listened intently as the 12 charges of indecent assault on a male were put to her at Dungannon Magistrates Court.

The offences are alleged to have occurred almost 50 years ago on dates between the 31st August 1967 and 31st March 1969.

Asked if she wished to give evidence in respect of the case she replied, “Not at this stage.”

A defence solicitor argued that reporting restrictions should be imposed on his client’s identity and outlined a number of reasons for this.

However District Judge Judge Meehan told the lawyer: “Press are aware of their statutory responsibilities in these instances. I have heard nothing which suggests the defendant’s identity should be suppressed.

“This issue of reporting restrictions went all the way up to the Lord Chief Justice and back down again. It is crucial press freedom is not inhibited unnecessarily. Reporting orders were handed out in the past for no proper reason and that has now ceased.”

The defence made a number of further counter points, but the application was refused.

Judge Meehan released Loughran £200 bail and ordered her to appear at Dungannon Crown Court next month to be arraigned on the charges.