UK News Man to stand trial over alleged sex assault on two week old baby, court told

15:25  13 december  2019
15:25  13 december  2019 Source:   belfastlive.co.uk

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The attack on the two - week - old baby is alleged to have happened in County Down last year. A 26-year- old man has pleaded not guilty to the serious sexual assault of a two - week - old baby in Annalong in County Down. It is thought the trial will take place over at least two weeks in May next year.

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a bench in front of a building: The trial may be heard at Belfast's Laganside Courts © PA The trial may be heard at Belfast's Laganside Courts

A 26-year old man is to stand trial next year on a charge of sexually assaulting a two-week old baby.

The accused - who cannot be named due to a reporting restriction put in place to protect the identity of the child - appeared at Belfast Crown Court today (Friday).

He spoke once to confirm his name, and again to enter a ‘not guilty’ plea to the sexual assault of a child on a date between September 27 and 30 last year.

In addition, he was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the same child between the same dates, and of assaulting a woman between August 1 and September 2, 2018.

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When these two charges were put to the accused, he replied ‘not guilty’ to both offences. The alleged offences are said to have occurred in Annalong.

After his client denied all three charges, defence barrister John Kearney QC revealed he would be applying for the trial to be held outside the South Down area, and suggested Belfast as a possible venue.

This, he said, was due to “a considerable degree of reaction in the local area where the offences are alleged to have occurred”.

When Mr Justice Colton asked what the Crown’s view to this application would be, prosecuting barrister Rosemary Walsh said “It is accepted there has been a strong local reaction”.

She added: “However, once the application is lodged with the court, we will consider that. There are family members we need to take into consideration. It’s something that we will consider very carefully.”

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A 55-year- old man is to stand trial after a ten-month old baby boy needed hospital treatment after a The assault charge can carry a maximum sentence of five years, but the court heard the Director of Sergeant Carney alleged the accused travelled to the injured party's home and performed the

Mr Kearney also revealed the defence is in the process of instructing medical experts which he said would “probably be English-based”.

Mr Justice Colton was then told the trial is expected to last between two and three weeks, and a provisional date for the hearing was set as May 11, 2020.

After saying the case will be reviewed at the end of January, the Judge said: “The defendant can be returned to custody.”

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