Man accused of raping 13-year-old girl denied bail

Court
Court

A Londonderry man accused of abducting and raping a 13-year-old girl must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

Christopher Harley also allegedly attacked his own mother after she called him a paedophile, prosecutors said.

Refusing bail to the 29-year-old, Mr Justice McLaughlin held there was a risk of similar offences.

Harley, of Kular Court in the city, faces charges of abducting a child in care, rape, sexual activity with a child, and common assault.

He allegedly committed the sex offences in October last year.

The girl had been found in his flat at 4.30am after going missing from a care home, the court heard.

Four days later social workers again out looking for her and another teenager discovered them with a man at a car park in Vctoria Market.

Based on their descriptions that man was allegedly Harley.

Natalie Pinkerton, prosecuting, said the girls spoke of regularly meeting with him and receiving gifts and alcohol.

Harley was initially only accused of abducting the 13-year-old, but in February this year she alleged that he had raped her.

“The young girl has indicated there was sexual intercourse in his flat,” Ms Pinkerton said.

“Whilst no violence was used, it is believed she was coerced. The incident happened several times throughout that night.”

The court also heard details of an alleged drunken attack on Harley’s mother on December 23.

During a row at her home he slapped her to the ground when she called him a paedophile, it was claimed.

Ms Pinkerton continued: “She stated that he put his knee on her chest, causing her difficulty in breathing, and proceeded to punch her four to five times, screaming ‘Say you’re sorry’.”

The woman claimed she suffered hearing loss and was left “terrified of her son and what he’s capable of”, the court heard.

Harley denies all of the offences, with his barrister insisting there is no evidence linking him to the abduction and sex charges.

Joe Brolly argued that an identification process for the alleged car park encounter has still not been carried out.

Referring to the rape claims, he said: “The allegation was made four months after, and no other evidence corroborates her account.

“He (Harley) says he never had sex with her.”

Mr Brolly also challenged the reliability of the account given by his client’s mother, citing an alleged drink problem.

“He makes the case that it’s absolutely nonsensical, he never punched her repeatedly, there are no injuries,” the barrister added.

Denying bail, however, Mr Justice McLaughlin emphasised the case involved a vulnerable child subject to care orders.

He said: “I consider the matter is extremely serious, I consider there’s a risk of repetition of at least a similar offence.”