A 24-year-old man has appeared in court charged with raping a man. The accused, who cannot be named because of reporting restrictions, was arrested in England on Tuesday. The charges relate to incidents which allegedly took place in hotels, a hostel and private addresses in Belfast between January and July of this year.
The accused faces four charges in total, including assault and false imprisonment. District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted temporary reporting restrictions because of "real and genuine" concerns for the safety of the accused. However, he was refused bail and remanded in custody. The case will be heard at Belfast Magistrates’ Court again next week.
The accused’s solicitor Seamus Leonard challenged an expert medical report which suggested consent may not have been given. He told the court his client ave police a detailed account of his relationship with the alleged victim. "This case stands or falls on the issue of consent," Mr Leonard said.
"He (the accused) has made a very clear case there was nothing in any of this that indicated a lack of consent." A detective constable, who connected the accused to the charges, opposed bail due to a fear of potential re-offending. Mr Leonard sought the reporting restrictions by claiming the administration of justice might be prejudiced if his client’s name was disclosed.
The lawyer added: "His human rights are engaged at this stage."
Judge Bagnall agreed to a temporary prohibition, but ordered further submissions be prepared on why the ban should remain in place long-term.