Northern Ireland

Former GAA treasurer Thomas McKenna to be questioned about fresh complaint

GAA official Thomas McKenna. Picture by Pacemaker
GAA official Thomas McKenna. Picture by Pacemaker

FORMER GAA treasurer Thomas McKenna, who is facing sex abuse charges linked to 12 people, is to questioned by police about a fresh complaint.

Giving evidence to Newry Magistrates Court, where the 58-year-old appeared via video-link, a police officer revealed that as well as further allegations being made by another complainant, officers who examined seized devices have identified other potential victims.

Police, in conjunction with the Public Prosecution Service, asked for McKenna to be produced to court on the next occasion as he faces further police interviews over the new allegations and forensic evidence.

Outlining how “there’s been progress” on the forensic examinations of body samples, the officer in charge of the “complex” investigation told the court:

“Another victim has come forward and spoken to us as well and there are potential other victims in the images who have been positively identified so we need to speak to them [to record their statements].”

Charged over two indictments McKenna, whose address has been given as c/o Maghaberry Prison, is accused of the sexual abuse of 12 people over an almost 30 year time span.

On one set of charges he is facing 10 offences against three males.

On a second indictment, the former GAA treasurer faces a total of 17 charges alleged to have been committed between 1988 and his arrest in August last year.

As well as sexual assault, McKenna is also facing voyeurism and indecent assault charges along with making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

The retired postman, who was treasurer for Crossmaglen Rangers, is further alleged to have interfered with mail during his time of employment.

Previous courts have heard that the “serious and complex investigation” involves alleged victims who claim McKenna either sexually abused them or he took photos and videos of them without their permission.

Police searches led to the recovery of devices said to contain 43,000 still images and 8,000 short video clips - some allegedly taken covertly.

The police officer told the court that material was still being examined by police.

Defence solicitor Gerald Traynor said he had repeatedly asked for a timetable as to the handling and progress of the seized items but as yet had received no answer so he was requesting their chronology from the police.

“I assume that’s for the purpose of a bail application,” asked the judge and Mr Trainor confirmed “ conclusion from all of this is that the matter has now stalled.”

Remanding McKenna back into custody, Judge Keown ordered him to he produced to court on 10 April 10.