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Man accused of attempted rape of 15-year-old niece at family party to face Crown Court

A man accused of attempting to rape and sexually assaulting his 15-year-old niece at a family gathering will face Crown Court proceedings next month.

The 54-year-old appeared at Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.

The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is charged with sexual assault and attempted rape.

As these charges were read, it was heard that the defendant is accused of committing these offences on July 26, of last year.

At a previous bail application, a constable revealed that the alleged injured party was the accused’s niece and that she was just 15 years of age, with the incidents alleged to have occurred at a family party.

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 Barry McKenna made no contrary submissions.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall said that she was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer.

The defendant was released on his own bail of £500 to appear before Newry Crown Court on April 22 for arraignment.

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