Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Baby rape case adjourned to confirm expert witnesses

 Reports from medical experts remain outstanding in the case of a man accused of raping a two-week-old baby, Newry Magistrates Court has heard.

The latest hearing in the disturbing case came before the court again on Wednesday last and was subsequently adjourned to confirm expert witnesses.  A number of medical reports, including from a paediatric pathologist, as well as expert evidence from radiology, neurological and ophthalmic consultants, have yet to be brought forward.

DNA testing on a nappy worn by the injured baby is also due.

The 26-year-old defendant, who cannot be named in order to protect identity of his alleged victim, appeared before the court via video link from Maghaberry prison where he has been held since his arrest in October last year.

District judge Eamonn King suggested the delay in confirming expert witnesses is reasonable, stating: “You cannot just conjure up expert witnesses out of thin air in the matter.  The witnesses need to be confirmed and that they have been instructed. There will then be progress afterwards.”

In a previous hearing, the accused claimed he may have unintentionally hit the child’s head off a wall while “tired and frustrated” but has denied sexually assaulting the infant.

He faces charges of grievous bodily harm with intent and sexual assault of a child by penetration on September 29, 2018.  Police were alerted after the baby was brought to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry with unexplained injuries, which included broken bones, bruising and bleeding.  The infant had also suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Mr King adjourned the court for four weeks to confirm the expert witnesses in the case.