Reporting restrictions

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A Craigavon judge has slapped reporting restrictions on the media in relation to a man accused of sexually touching a six year old child.

Judge Mervyn Bates ordered the reporting restrictions two weeks ago at Craigavon Magistrates Court in relation to a man in his 40s who is also accused of abducting a child and breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

The defendant refused to come into the dock to face a preliminary enquiry on the charges two weeks ago and Judge Bates, with the Prosecution and Defence accommodated the trial in the defendant’s cell. The Lurgan Mail was in court that day but was not invited to the PE in the cells.

When the Mail challenged the reporting restrictions last Friday, Judge Bates apologised that the Mail was not contacted regarding attending the impromptu court hearing. It also transpired that the Prosecution had requested the reporting restrictions claiming that identifying the defendant could via a ‘jigsaw’ effect lead to the identification of the victim.

The matter is now before the Crown Court where the defendant is expected to appear in November.

The defendant, who the press now cannot name, is no relation to the innocent party.