Northern Ireland news

Ballygawley faith healer charged with sexual assault

Robert John Coote did not appear in court due to ill health

A PENSIONER who runs a 'healing ministry' has been charged with two counts of sexual assault.

Robert John Coote, with an address in Ballygawley did not appear at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday, with his defence council citing ill health for his absence.

Mr Coote, is known locally as a faith healer who claims to have the ability to 'cure' certain aliments, has been charged with the alleged sexual assault of two women.

The charges relate to incidents on November 27, 2016 and September 2010 when it was alleged he intentionally touched a woman in "circumstances that the touching was sexual, that she did not consent to the touching and you did not reasonably believe that she so consented".

The court was told while he has no "professional qualifications" Mr Coote, who is pleading not guilty to the both charges, is part of a "healing ministry".

The case was adjourned until January to allow for medical tests to establish if the 72-year-old farmer is fit to stand trial.

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