Dance tv star (87) in court on sex charges

An 87-year-old man, the star of a tv programme about some of the oldest dancers in Northern Ireland, who is charged with 65 sex offences has had his case sent to the Crown Court.

Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 11:53 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:58 pm

Vincent Lewis, of Annagher Road, Coalisland, County Tyrone, faces 38 charges of indecent assault on a male; 22 of buggery with a boy under the age of 16; four of gross indecency with or towards a child and one of attempted buggery of a boy under the age of 16.

The dates on the charges range from 1973 to 1983.

At a preliminary enquiry - the legal stage to send a case to the Crown Court - at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday Lewis was in the dock and replied “no” when asked if he objected to the holding of the proceedings.

A prosecutor said on the basis of the papers he believed there was a case to answer and a defence lawyer said he had no contrary submissions to make.

District Judge Liam McNally held there was a case to answer.

Lewis was asked if he wished to say anything in relation to the charges or give evidence or call witnesses on his own behalf and he replied “no”.

The case was sent to Antrim Crown Court on January 31.

The defence lawyer applied for two counsel and the judge said he would grant that “in light of the seriousness and the complexity of the case”.

Lewis was released on continuing bail.

As part of his bail conditions he must not have contact with any children under the age of 16; must not communicate with any alleged victims or witnesses and he must not have any contact with any persons associated with Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey monastery at Portglenone, County Antrim.

In 2014 Mr Lewis featured in a show about set dancing called ‘The Joy of Sets’.

At the time of the BBC ‘True North’ programme it was reported he was still working as a printer making memorial cards and ‘Mass Cards’ .