Jury fails to decide if top loyalist Mark Harbinson broke sex order

Loyalist Mark Harbinson
Loyalist Mark Harbinson

A jury yesterday failed to reach a verdict on whether leading loyalist and convicted sex predator Mark Harbinson breached his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

The Craigavon Crown Court jury of eight men and four women deliberated for almost four hours over the course of two days before telling trial Judge Gordon Kerr QC they were split.

As the foreman announced the hung verdict, 46-year-old Harbinson sighed and cast his eyes to the sky.

During the two-day hearing the jury heard allegations that Harbinson had re-associated himself with the Pride of the Village Flute Band in Stoneyford, which was a breach of a court imposed SOPO.

The jury heard allegations that police found he had not only associated with the band but had used a computer to organise a parade in Stoneyford on June 18.

Harbinson, from the Sheepwalk Road, Lisburn, was given the SOPO after being convicted of sexual assault on a teenage girl he met through the flute band.

Following the hung verdict Judge Kerr allowed the prosecution until Monday to take instructions on the possibility of a retrial.