Northern Ireland news

Teenager charged with rape failed to attend court

Laganside Court in Belfast

A Co Antrim teenager has been charged with raping a schoolgirl.

The youth, who is not being named, was due to appear before Belfast Magistrates' Court accused of three sexual offences.

But when he failed to attend a judge warned that an arrest warrant will be issued if he does not show up for the next listing.

The teenager faces counts of rape, inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and sexual activity involving penetration.

All of three charges involve the same alleged victim and relate to a suspected incident in April 2016 - when the accused was aged 15.

His case was listed for a preliminary enquiry hearing to determine if there is a case to answer.

A defence lawyer confirmed, however, that his client was not present.

Despite the absence of the accused, a detective constable said she could connect him to the charges.

Ajourning proceedings for two weeks, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: "If he's not here on that occasion there will be an arrest warrant."

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