Councillor pleads guilty to sexual assault charge

September 21, 2015

A disgraced Newry Mourne and Down councillor who admitted sexually assaulting a woman, could now face up to a year in jail.

The case against Independent councillor Patrick Joseph Clarke pleaded guilty to the charge at a hearing in Downpatrick Magistrates Court last week, which had been scheduled to fix a date for his contest but instead, the charge was put to him again and he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his victim on 23 December last year.

A prosecuting lawyer said 40-year-old Clarke would not be prosecuted on a second similar charge against the same victim on the same date.

No facts surrounding the sex attack were opened in court and his defence barrister asked for him to be released on continuing bail pending sentence.

Granting the application and ordering that a pre-sentence probation report be completed, District Judge Peter King told Clarke to return to court on 12 October for the sentencing hearing.