Newborn baby rape accused refused bail

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Newry Magistrates' Court
Image caption,
The man had his bail refused at Newry Magistrates' Court on Wednesday

A man who allegedly raped a two-week-old baby has been refused bail.

The 25-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, was arrested on 2 October following a reported incident in the Annalong area of County Down, on 29 September.

He is charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and sexual assault of a 12-day-old baby.

The "grotesque" details of the case were withheld from open court at Newry Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The accused denies the charges, but has accepted he had sole custody of the baby on the night in question, when injuries to the child are said to have occurred.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
The injured baby was taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children

Prosecution handed in a document on the child's injuries into the court, which was accepted by the judge.

A PSNI detective constable objected to the bail application due to an unsuitable address outside the jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland.

The detective also outlined that the address was that of the father of the accused who was an alcoholic and would not be able to "keep tabs" on the defendant.

Prosecution opposed the bail application on all grounds stating that if the defendant absconded that an EU arrest warrant would be required.

Defence argued that his client's family supported him and they were prepared to enter a cash surety of £10,000.

It was said that the accused would be close enough to the border to sign in at Newry PSNI station if bail was granted.

'Presumption of innocence'

"This case will take some time to get to a full hearing," said the defence barrister.

"A similar case, where the child died, took up to three years to be heard.

"The seriousness of the crime cannot prevent bail. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence."

District Judge Eamonn King refused the application.

The defendant was remanded back into custody at Maghaberry Prison.

The case was adjourned until 5 December.