Man to face trial for grooming, child abduction and rape

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A Coleraine man has been sent for trial on charges including meeting a child following sexual grooming, child abduction and raping a teenage girl.

Jonathan McNeill (30), originally of Greenmount Crescent, Coleraine, but who has a bail address outside the town, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court last Monday for a preliminary enquiry on eight charges.

The charges relate to January, 2015 and include sexual activity by an adult with a child aged between 13-16 years; meeting a child following sexual grooming; trafficking in the UK for sexual exploitation; rape; child abduction and sexual assault charges

McNeill was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie in the dock and replied “no” when asked if he objected to the holding of a preliminary enquiry and again replied “no” when asked if he wished to say anything in relation to the charges.

A prosecution lawyer said he believed there is a case to answer and defence barrister Andrew Moriarty said there were no contrary submissions.

Mr Moriarty applied for two counsel saying one of the counts was a “particularly serious charge”.

District Judge Liam McNally said on the basis of the papers it “looks like a one counsel case” and said the Crown Court can decide on that issue.

The judge held there was a case to answer and sent the accused for trial to Antrim Crown Court in May.

McNeill was released on continuing bail of £500 and a £40,000 surety from his parents.

As part of his bail the accused is not to drive any vehicle and he is not to travel as a passenger in any private vehicle unless it is being driven by one of his parents.

He is not allowed within half a mile of any residential children’s facility and he is not allowed to contact any resident of such a facility.

HIn addition he shall not possess or use any mobile telephone or computer or otherwise attempt to access the internet or send text messages.