Northern Ireland news

Investigation into alleged sex abuse by former GAA club treasurer Thomas McKenna (58) will take 'some time'

Former Crossmaglen Rangers treasurer Thomas McKenna (58)

THE police investigation into allegations of sex abuse committed by former GAA club treasurer Thomas McKenna is so large it will take “some time”, a court has heard.

A prosecuting lawyer told Newry Magistrates Court that as well as identifying a “large number of witnesses” there is also a “large amount of work with the cyber crime unit”.

“There's a large amount of material to be sifted through and processed including various electronic devices,” said the lawyer, adding that she was seeking a four-week adjournment.

Charged over two indictments, McKenna (58) is accused of the sexual abuse of 12 people over an almost 30-year time span.

On one set of charges, he is accused of 10 offences against three males including sexual assaults and indecent assaults.

On the second indictment, the former treasurer of Crossmaglen Rangers GAC faces 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.

Defence solicitor Gerald Traynor suggested yesterday that given police have had material for four months, “they should be very far up the queue” for examination.

He 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 March 13, Deputy District Judge Steven Keown said prosecutors should provide a “target date for forensics and an update regarding witnesses”.

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