Northern Ireland news

Co Armagh man accused of drug rape has to leave county court jurisdiction for his own safety

The charges arise following an alleged incident in a house in the Garvaghy Park area of Portadown

A 26-year-old man accused of drug rape, who "wholly denies" the charges against him, has had to leave the county court jurisdiction for his own safety.

Colin Barry McGeown of Charlestown Road, Derrytrasna, Co Armagh, appeared in the dock of Craigavon Magistrates Court today charged with two counts of rape, false imprisonment of the complainant and administering a substance in the form of "white powder" without consent, all of which are alleged to have been committed on February 16.

The charges arise following an alleged incident in a house in the Garvaghy Park area of Portadown.

A detective constable told District Judge Bernie Kelly police were "vehemently opposed" to him being freed on bail as due to "rising community tensions there's a severe threat to the defendant's safety".

The officer told the court that, following the alleged incident, relatives of the complainant "attended prior to the police" and were arrested after they allegedly assaulted an individual.

During police interviews, Mr McGeown "gave an account that any sexual activity was consensual" and in a pre-prepared statement said "that for around an hour afterwards, he was in the living room with the complainant with her sitting on his knee and kissing him", before she left in an "undistressed manner".

Defence solicitor Chris McCann said: "Mr McGeown wholly denies the allegations and doesn't know why the allegations have been made."

Judge Kelly said a proposed bail address "would need to be some considerable distance away before he could rejoice in some degree of anonymity that would provide some degree of protection where people don't know him or know who he is".

"We are talking about a small local area where I would guess that everybody knows everybody else," she said.

After the court was provided with an address - not disclosed in the open court - that was outside its jurisdiction, the judge freed Mr McGeown on his own bail of £500 with a £1,000 surety.

Judge Kelly barred him from alcohol, abusing drugs, contacting the alleged victim and imposed a curfew.

Moving the case to a different magistrates court on March 20, she warned him: "If I find there has been contact through well meaning family or friends on social media with the IP or discussion of the case, it will be a breach."

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