TRIAL: Howell sex trial begins

A JURY has been sworn in for the trial of Ballymoney dentist, Colin Howell (pictured left), at Antrim Crown Court.

The trial begins today (Tuesday) of the former dentist who faces 17 indecent assault charges on six different female patients.

The victims, who cannot be named to protect their identities, are all from the North Coast area.

The assaults are alleged to have taken place at Howell’s Ballymoney dental surgery over a ten year period, between March 1998 and December 2008.

Appearing at Antrim Crown Court yesterday (Monday), Howell, who was once one of the United Kingdom’s top cosmetic dentists, sat in the dock wearing a beige suit and white shirt.

He has already pleaded guilty to three of the charges and will contest the remaining 14.

Crown Judge Corinne Philpott QC ruled that the victims nor their relatives, who will be giving evidence against Howell during the trial, should be identified by members of the Press.

Addressing the Press directly from the bench, Judge Philpott said that the anonymity of the victims was important to encourage other victims of sexual cases to come forward.

The trial is expected to last until next Friday.