Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Investigation against sex abuse accused will take ‘some time’

 The police probe into allegations of sex abuse against Crossmaglen man Thomas McKenna is so large that it is expected to take a considerable amount of time to fully investigate, a court has heard.

At a hearing on Wednesday last at Newry Magistrates’ Court, a prosecution lawyer revealed that along with identifying a “large number of witnesses” there is also a “large amount of work with the cyber crime unit” to be examined.

Seeking a four-week adjournment, the lawyer revealed that it will take “some time” to investigate the allegations and added: “There’s a large amount of material to be sifted through and processed including various electronic devices.”

McKenna (58), a former Treasurer of Crossmaglen Rangers GFC, is accused of the sexual abuse of 12 people spanning almost 30 years.

Charged on two separate indictments, in the first he is accused of 10 offences against three males including sexual assaults and indecent assaults.  The second indictment involves a total of 17 charges including serious sexual assaults, gross indecency, voyeurism and making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

The retired postman is further alleged to have interfered with mail during his time of employment.

During Wednesday’s hearing, defence solicitor Gerald Traynor suggested that given police have had material for four months, “they should be very far up the queue” for examination and said when the case is next before the court, “the police should give a proper update” about what progress has been made.

Remanding McKenna back into custody to appear again on 13th March, Deputy District Judge Steven Keown said prosecutors should provide a “target date for forensics and an update regarding witnesses”.