Co Antrim man to stand trial for multiple rapes

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A Co Antrim man is to stand trial accused of multiple rapes more than a decade ago, a judge ordered today.

The 50-year-old appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court for the first time charged with a total of 14 sexual offences.

He is not being named at this stage for legal reasons.

The accused faces seven counts of rape and a further seven indecent assaults on a female.

All of the alleged offences involve the same complainant and were committed between September 2002 and December 2007.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing a defence solicitor did not contest prosecution submissions that a prima facie case has been established.

The accused declined to give evidence or call witnesses at this stage in proceedings.

District Judge Mark Hamill granted an application to have him returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

The man was released on continuing bail, but ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.

He will be represented by two barristers due to the seriousness and complexity of the case.

His solicitor told the court: “This is an historical case, there are over 800 pages on the deposition and the interview process alone took over a year.

“These are very complex, cross-generational issues.”