Co Antrim man sent to trial on child rape charges

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A Co Antrim man has been ordered to stand trial accused of raping a child and subjecting her to a catalogue of further sexual abuse.

The 46-year-old defendant is alleged to have molested the girl over a five-year period.

He is not being named to ensure her identity is protected.

The accused, who is from the Newtownabbey area, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court today facing a total of 34 charges.

They included 23 counts of indecent assault and two allegations of raping a child under the age of 13.

He is also charged with unlawful carnal knowledge and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

The alleged offences cover a period between January 2004 and September 2009.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing prosecutors contended that he has a case to answer.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted an application for the accused to be returned for Crown Court trial.

He was released on £500 bail until those proceedings get underway.