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Trial averted as youth admits sexually abusing girl when he was 13

Dungannon Court

A trial has been averted after a youth previously accused of raping and assaulting a female child admitted a lesser count.

The youth, who cannot be identified due to his age, was due to go on trial at Dungannon Crown Court having denied four counts of rape and three of assault, over various dates between March and June 2018.

Although a jury was set to be sworn in, this was delayed while legal discussions took place over a number of days, which ultimately led to an alternative charge being settled upon.

The offence of sexual activity involving penetration of a child was put to the youth who pleaded guilty.

A prosecution barrister advised this alternative charge is a specimen count and the remaining matters are to be left on the court books.

While no details surrounding the case were disclosed during the short hearing, it was revealed the youth was aged 13 at the time of offending.

A defence barrister requested the case be adjourned to allow for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

Judge Brian Sherrard KC agreed and remanded the youth on continuing bail to return for sentencing next month

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