Northern Ireland news

Man acquitted of sexually abusing two girls

Laganside Court in Belfast

A 38-year-old Belfast man has been acquitted of sexually abusing two girls during visits to his sister's partner's flat.

The acquittal of the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came after prosecution counsel Gareth Purvis told the Crown Crown he was "offering no evidence on this matter for a number of reasons to do with previous proceedings and following a review of the evidence".

Two other trials in the case, in which the man has denied a total of ten charges, had to be aborted for legal reasons.

Judge David Smith QC told the jury that "since the prosecution is offering no evidence I have to direct you, as a matter of law, to find him (the defendant) not guilty, of all charges".

Afterwards Judge Smith told the man that because of his direction, "you have been found not guilty and you are entitled to go".

Previous hearings were told that of the charges, one allegedly took place during a week-end in February 2010, while the other nine were said to have been committed over a three year period from Christmas Eve 2011 to New Years' Day, 2015.

And that the majority of the charges involved one girl during visits to the man's niece.

The second girl was aged eleven when it had been claimed, she was made to view a pornographic material on a laptop computer.

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