Northern Ireland news

Former Celtic kit man Jim McCafferty to plead guilty to child abuse pending medical reports

Former Celtic FC kit man Jim McCafferty

Former Celtic kit man Jim McCafferty will be pleading guilty to at least two of eight sex charges he faces, but only after being deemed medically fit to do so, Belfast Crown Court heard today.

The 71-year-old, formerly of Raby Street, in south Belfast, was to have been formally arraigned on the child sex abuse charges before Judge David McFarland, however it was adjourned yet again until November.

Lawyers for both the prosecution and defence told the Belfast Recorder that a recently received report from a top psychiatrist indicated that McCafferty should also be examined by other specialists.

Prosecution barrister David Russell said that having read the report there were "real concerns" over the former sportsman's cognitive abilities, and that the Crown would want to have their own expert reports on him.

"I can see a real issue about the arraignment taking place," added Mr Russell.

Defence barrister Patrick Taylor indicated that "there would be pleas to counts one and two" and asked for this to be registered by the court.

However, he said the psychiatric report, which only became available yesterday, highlighted other medical issues which needed investigation.

The defence lawyer said it could have a bearing on the admissions McCafferty allegedly made and also his ability to register information and order his thoughts.

Mr Taylor said that would require examinations and reports from a pharmachologist, and a neuropsychologist, both of which would need time to complete.

Judge McFarland, who said that "realisticially" it could take up to a couple of months for the reports to be completed, agreed to adjourn the case until the beginning of November when it will be mentioned again.

McCafferty, who was not in court for the brief hearing, was returned for trial from Belfast Magistrates' Court in May this year on eight charges of intentionally touching a boy under the age of 16.

The offences were alleged to have been committed in Belfast on dates between 2012 and 2015.

The accused was arrested last December after giving an interview to a national newspaper and then walking into a Belfast police station.

McCafferty, who previously lived in the Glasgow area, worked at Celtic Football Club more than 20 years ago.

He was also a kit man for other Scottish clubs, including Falkirk and Hibs, before moving to Northern Ireland around seven years ago.

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