Police believe a foreign national accused of raping a child may have left the jurisdiction, a court has heard.
The district judge adjourned the case until until November 4, saying: “This is to confirm the defendant’s presence in this jurisdiction. If you are unable to do so I will issue a bench warrant.”
The defendant, with an address in south Armagh, is charged with rape of a child under 13, sexual assault of a child under 13 and failing to answer bail.
At Newry Magistrates’ on Wednesday, defence solicitor Ruari Gillen stated that the case had been listed for a date to be fixed for a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.
However, prosecution informed court that an update from the directing officer outlined that they had been advised by police that it was believed that the accused was not residing at his bail address.
Officers had spoken to residents at the property who stated that he had cleared up his belongings and said he was returning overseas.
The directing officer claimed to have contacted the defendant’s solicitor but had heard no reply.
Mr Gillen stated: “I have absolutely no idea what this is about. I have not received any contact. This was last before the court on September 30 and I have had no contact from the police since.”
District Judge Eamonn King adjourned the case until November 4, saying: “This is to confirm the defendant’s presence in this jurisdiction. If you are unable to do so I will issue a bench warrant.”