Belfast man to stand trial on historic rape charges

Court
Court

A Belfast man is to stand trial charged with carrying out two rapes up to 30 years ago, a judge has ordered.

The 44-year-old is also accused of subjecting his alleged victim to a catalogue of sexual abuse while he was still a teenager.

A further count involves a separate claim of molesting his niece earlier this year.

The man cannot be named in order to protect the identities of his alleged victims.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with two counts of raping a female and six indecent assaults on her.

All of those alleged offences took place on dates between 1981 and 1987.

He is separately charged with sexual activity with a child family member in January this year.

Standing in the dock for the preliminary enquiry hearing, the defendant confirmed he understood the allegations against him.

His lawyer raised no objections when a prosecutor submitted that he has a case to answer.

The accused declined to give any evidence or call witnesses at this stage in the process.

District Judge George Conner then granted a prosecution application to have the man returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Based on the rape allegations Mr Conner agreed to certify requests for two defence barristers.

He released the accused on continuing bail until his arraignment on a date to be fixed.