Leading loyalist Mark Harbinson goes on trial

Loyalist Mark Harbinson
Loyalist Mark Harbinson

Leading loyalist and convicted sex offender Mark Harbinson went on trial yesterday accused of breaching a court order just three weeks after his release from prison.

The Craigavon Crown Court jury of four men and eight women heard that 46-year-old Harbinson was freed at the beginning of May last year having served a prison service for sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl.

However, by the end of that month, he was allegedly re-involving himself with the Pride of the Village Flute Band in Stoneyford, breaching the terms of a court imposed Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Prosecuting lawyer James Brady told the jury that on May 26 last year, Harbinson telephoned and then wrote an e-mail to the Parades Commission in protest at restrictions they had imposed on the flute band, signing it “Mark Harbinson, Pride of the Village spokesman”.

The lawyer revealed that Harbinson’s teenage victim had been a member of the band and that as part of the SOPO, he was barred from participating in their activities without prior approval from his designated risk manager.

As well as being convicted of sexually abusing the girl at the end of his trial in February 2011, Harbinson was also found guilty of having indecent photographs of a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Harbinson, from Sheepwalk Road in Lisburn, denies a single charge that on dates between May 22 and June 18 last year, he breached the terms of a court imposed SOPO by associating with the Pride of the Village Flute Band Stoneyford.

Harbinson was arrested and interviewed about the allegations but denied having anything to do with the band.

The trial continues.

At hearing.