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Man accused of sexually assaulting two males to face Crown Court

He was released on his own bail of £500 to appear before Newry Crown Court in August

A Portadown man accused of sexually assaulting two males will face Crown Court proceedings later this year.

The 33-year-old appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.

James McAtarsney, of The Beeches, is charged with two counts of sexual assault.

As the charges were read, it was heard that these offences were alleged to have been committed on two separate male injured parties.

The defendant is accused on a date between December 20, of 2015, and January 1, of 2017, to have intentionally touched a male, the circumstances being that the touching was sexual and that he did not consent to the touching and McAtarsney did not reasonably believe that he so consented.

There is a similar allegations in relation to another male which is alleged to have occurred on a date between July 31 and December 1, of 2019.

Appearing via videolink from his solicitor’s office, the defendant made no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.

Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a prima facie case to answer.

Defence barrister Kevin Magill made no contrary submissions.

District Judge Bernie Kelly was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer and McAtarsney was released on his own bail of £500 to appear before Newry Crown Court on August 19 for arraignment.

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