Man charged with rape of two-week-old infant

October 8, 2018

A 25-year-old man who has been charged with the rape of a two-week old baby is due to appear in court in Newry later this week.  The accused, whose name cannot be reported, made a brief appearance at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday last (4th October) where he was charged with rape and grievous bodily harm of the newborn infant.  

The offences relate to an incident which occurred on Saturday 29th September, the court heard.  A detective sergeant told the court he was able to connect the 25-year-old with the charges.  No bail application was made and the accused was remanded into custody at Maghaberry prison.

The male infant, from the Annalong area of Co. Down, was just twelve days old when he was assaulted.  Following initial assessment at a hospital in the Southern Trust area, the baby was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where he remains in the paediatric intensive care unit.

News of the attack sparked a reaction of distress and disbelief and many members of the public used social media platforms to convey their anger and horror.  With several posts at risk of identifying the alleged perpetrator, police issued a warning to the public to desist commenting on the case, pointing out that any future criminal trial could be jeopardised by such actions.

In a post flagged ‘Think before you comment on this’, a spokesperson on the PSNI Newry and Mourne Facebook page said he had deleted several comments on the thread “which contain threats and others which are just completely inappropriate”.

“Yes this is an extremely emotive incident but online comments will not lead to justice for this innocent victim,” the PSNI representative said, adding, “You will likely have noticed the media reports in respect of a baby having been seriously assaulted in our district. This little one needs justice.  Justice will not be able to be fully served if social media comments spiral out of control.  Naming the suspect will give their defense counsel an opportunity to taint any future jury trial.  Sharing, commenting or liking a post naming the individual will give defense counsel an angle.”

The post ended with a warning that Facebook commenters may be breaching reporting restrictions in relation to the suspect, with an added plea to “let justice prevail here”.

The accused is due to appear before Newry Magistrates’ Court this Wednesday morning, October 10th, via videolink.