Brothers to stand trial on sex charges

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Two brothers from Belfast are to stand trial charged with a catalogue of historic sex crimes against a boy, a judge has ordered.

Mark and Gavin Cuthbert appeared together at the city’s magistrates’ court to face a series of abuse allegations.

They are accused of committing the offences over a period from 1987 to 1994.

Gavin Cuthbert, 48, is charged with 11 counts of gross indecency with or towards a child, 10 indecent assaults, and two counts of buggery with a boy aged under 16.

His 53-year-old brother Mark, faces a total of 18 charges, including indecent assaults. gross indecency with a child, and attempted buggery of a boy.

Both defendants’ addresses were given as Maghaberry Prison.

During the preliminary enquiry hearing they spoke to confirm they understood the allegations against them.

Defence lawyers did not contest prosecution submissions that the pair have a case to answer.

One barrister said: “There’s a significant and complex history to the case.”

With neither brother calling witnesses or giving evidence at this stage, District Judge Peter King granted an application to have them returned for Crown Court trial.

They were remanded back into custody until those proceedings get under way on a date to be set.