Former SDLP councillor Brian Duffin found guilty for second time of sex assault on teenage girl

Brian Duffin. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press.
Brian Duffin. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press.

The reputation of a councillor has been utterly shattered after a judge convicted him for the second time of sexually assaulting a teenager.

Former SDLP councillor 73-year-old Brian Duffin showed little or no emotion as Judge Melody McReynolds said she was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he was guilty.

Describing his victim’s evidence as “truthful, accurate and reliable,” Judge McReynolds told Coleraine County Appeal Court she was affirming Duffin’s conviction for sexual assault and warned that given the circumstances, he was “on the cusp of the custodial threshold”.

Giving evidence against the 73-year-old father and grandfather, the 17-year-old victim described how Duffin “stuck his tongue” into her mouth when he kissed her, had one hand on her breast and the other on her inner thigh during the sexual assault on June 16 2016.

During her often tearful cross-examination, the second time she has had to endure the ordeal of reliving the events in a public court, the teenager said she had tried to block out the attack as the sexual assault was “something I don’t want to remember”.

Duffin, a father of 11 and grandfather to 19 children, from the Cargin Road in Toomebridge, gave evidence in his own behalf and denied all the allegations.

He will be sentenced in the new year.

When he was initially sentenced in August by District Judge Nigel Broderick, he was handed a four-month jail term.