Former principal on sex assault charges

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

An ex-principal of a former primary school in Ballymena has appeared in court using a walking aid as he faced a number of sexual assault charges.

Richard Duffin (77), from the Gortnageeragh Road area of Cargan, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.

He is accused of a total of 12 charges including eight charges of indecently assaulting three males on dates unknown between June 30, 1975 and July 1, 1980.

Duffin was the first headmaster of the now closed St Joseph’s Primary School which opened at Ballymena’s Doury Road on January 9, 1978, and he retired in 1992.

The accused also faces two charges of wilfully assaulting one of the males, who was under 16 at the time, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health between October 31, 1980 and June 1,1981.

Duffin faces a further two charges of assaulting the same male during the 1980/81 period.

No details of where the alleged offences occurred where outlined to the court.

During a preliminary enquiry, District Judge Des Perry said the charges could be described as “historical sexual offences” and granted two counsel in the case.

A prosecutor submitted that on the evidence there was a case to answer and there were no contrary submissions from defence barrister Neil Moore.

Duffin was released on his own bail of £500 to appear at Antrim Crown Court for arraignment on October 27.