Northern Ireland news

Former DUP mayor Thomas Hogg denies sending sexual messages to a schoolboy

Former DUP mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Thomas Hogg,

A FORMER DUP mayor accused of sending sexual messages to a schoolboy "strongly" denies any wrongdoing, a court heard today.

Thomas Hogg (31) also disputes allegations that he tried to incite the youth to take part in a sexual act.

Hogg, of Brae Hill Park in Belfast, was reportedly arrested last month at a music festival in Valley Park, Newtownabbey.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court to face charges of sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause or incite a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

Dressed in a dark suit and overcoat, Hogg looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as the alleged offences were read out.

A police officer confirmed he could connect him to the charges.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell put no questions to the officer during the brief hearing.

But he told the court: "The charges are strongly denied by the defendant."

No further details about the alleged circumstances were disclosed.

With the prosecution confirming that a full file is still awaited, District Judge Fiona Bagnall adjourned proceedings to December 9.

She excused Hogg from attending court on that date.

The defendant is a former Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

He resigned from the DUP and stood down as a councillor after being charged with the offences.

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