Mid Ulster businessman accused of raping child under 13

Magherafelt courthouse

Magherafelt courthouse

A businessman accused of raping a child was refused bail at Magherafelt Magistrates Court today after he was unable to provide a suitable address at which to reside.

He was also charged with sexually assaulting a child under 13, assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault, and resisting police on July 3.

Prosecuting counsel told the court that 10 addresses had been checked and found not suitable by police, including the most recent in the Cookstown area.

An investigating police officer said the address was a mile from a primary school, 19 miles from the victim, and police were unable to carry out normal checks because the owner of the property was in custody.

He confirmed that other addresses at Dungannon, Randalstown, Lurgan, Portrush and Greencastle, Co Donegal, were deemed unsuitable because children either resided at the locations or they were close to primary schools, amusement or tourist facilities.

A defence barrister said the defendant has been in custody for six weeks on what are “exceptionally serious charges”.

He said defendant has no relevant record and is a businessman with children of his own.

The lawyer said he faced an allegation of a certain type on a prepubescent child, and it had been disclosed at a previous court that there was no sign of any trauma and he had been “fairly astounded by that”.

He said the man has a business and employees and because of his detention for six weeks it was in “dire straights” with other people trying to run it while he is in custody.

“The police have effectively a veto and won’t allow him bail,” he claimed.

Remanding the defendant in custody until September 14, District Judge Alan White refused to vary the bail conditions and told defence counsel that he was free to apply to the High Court.