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Further legal aid for Cliftonville player Jay Donnelly facing child sex picture charges

Jay Donnelly. Picture by Alan Weir/Pacemaker Press.

An Irish League football star has been granted further legal aid to defend charges he took and distributed an indecent image of a child.

Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly's certification is to be extended to cover a barrister due to the nature and seriousness of the allegations, a judge decided today.

The 22-year-old, of Ardilea Drive in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, is accused of two offences.

He allegedly took an indecent photograph of a child on June 28 last year.

A second charge involves distributing or showing the image between that date and October 25, 2016.

Donnelly has continued to appear for the north Belfast club since the allegations emerged.

But he did not attend Belfast Magistrates' Court as the case was mentioned today.

Although proceedings had been listed for attitude to the charges, a defence lawyer requested a further adjournment.

Kelly Doherty told the court: "We are in correspondence with the prosecution, there are some matters we need to attend to."

District Judge Amanda Brady also dealt with an application to extend legal aid cover to the footballer.

She asked defence representatives: "I see his occupation. Is that the only thing he does - he doesn't have another job?"

It was confirmed that Donnelly's only income is from soccer.

"I will grant legal aid (and) certify for counsel," Judge Brady said.

She adjourned the case for a further hearing next month.

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