Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Man and woman to stand trial on litany of child sex abuse charges

A man and woman are set to appear before Newry Crown Court next month, charged with a litany of sex abuse charges involving children.

The pair, from Armagh, are to be arraigned to stand trial on a total of 62 charges.  Having appeared at Armagh Magistrates Court on Wednesday, District Judge Paul Copeland issued a ban on naming both accused due to the “exceptionality of the case and extreme vulnerability of complainants”.

The woman, who is aged in her 30s, faces 10 counts each of voyeurism and taking/making indecent images of a child, as well as three counts of sexually assaulting a child. There are also single counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and gross indecency.

There are five alleged victims – one male and four female – and the charges vary in respect of each.  Two were aged under 13 at the time, with the accused charged with intentionally sexually touching one of them on two occasions on date between 2010 and 2014.  And against the other under 13-year-old, there are three counts of recording a private act for sexual gratification and single counts each of sexual touching, gross indecency and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.  These offences span dates between 2007 and 2015.

The three other complainants are alleged to have been recorded carrying out private acts for sexual gratification on dates from 2006 to 2015.  The remaining charges relate to indecent images of children, occurring over the same time frame.  

The accused, who wept throughout the proceedings, confirmed she understood the charges.  She was remanded on continuing bail and ordered to appear for arraignment at Newry Crown Court on 10th January.

The man, aged in his 40s, appeared in court a short time later to face a total of 47 charges.  

These include 32 counts of making indecent images of children, six of possessing indecent images, three of possessing extreme pornographic images and two each of attempting to distribute indecent images and possessing prohibited child images.  The final two counts relate to voyeurism, with the accused allegedly recording a female for sexual gratification between 2011 and 2012.

It was also noted that prior to these offences, it is alleged he committed the same offence between 2010 and 2011, but in that instance the identity of the female involved remains unknown.

He was also remanded on continuing bail and will join his co-accused for arraignment next month.