A man accused of raping a drunk 14-year-old girl has been refused bail in order to protect the vulnerable girl.
At Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, District Judge Harry McKibbin refused to release 26-year-old William George McVeigh and also refused defence applications to impose reporting restrictions on his identity.
McVeigh, from Forthriver Green in Belfast, is alleged to have raped the teenager on October 31.
A PSNI officer told the court he believed he could connect McVeigh to the charge, adding that the police case was based on the allegation that the 14-year-old was so intoxicated “she was not in any shape or form to give any consent to any sexual activity”.
He revealed how the alleged victim first told her mother and sister what had happened and that since then she had been medically examined and her police interview recorded.
The officer said police were objecting to bail in order to protect the alleged victim,whom he described as “vulnerable”, and to protect McVeigh himself as it is a “highly emotive case” with what police believe are “inquiries ongoing within the local Shankill community”.
Although he said that McVeigh “may be at risk because of that,” under cross examination from defence lawyer Sean O’Hare, he said he had no knowledge of any “direct threat” against the alleged rapist.
Mr O’Hare revealed it was McVeigh’s case that he believed the complainant was older than 14 but the PSNI officer said his understanding was that the alleged rapist “had asked the injured party what age she was”.
Remanding McVeigh into custody to appear again via video link on December 18, Judge McKibbin said he was “concerned about the vulnerability of the 14-year-old witness”.
The judge placed a specific media restriction on the alleged victim’s name but when Mr O’Hare asked for the restrictions to include McVeigh’s name, Judge McKibbin refused.