Man cleared of child sex charges
Thursday, 9 March 2017
A MAN, originally from Coleraine, unanimously acquitted of raping and sexually abusing a child has been put through a "horrendous two year ordeal," his lawyer has said.
The Antrim Crown Court jury of eight men and four women deliberated for just 40 minutes on Friday, March 3, before returning to declare 30-year-old Jonathan McNeill not guilty of the final two counts against him.
Afterwards Mr McNeill's lawyer blasted the police and Public Prosecution Service after it emerged the teenager had made similar baseless accusations against other men.
Following a defence application at the end of the Crown case last week, trial judge Paul Ramsey QC directed the jury to acquit McNeill of six of the eight charges he faced.
It had been the Crown case that McNeill, originally from Coleraine but now with an address at Woodland Grove in Antrim, had groomed the girl through text messages.
It has been alleged he took her from the children's home where she lived to his flat where he had sex with her, giving her money afterwards.
Mr McNeill had always maintained he was innocent and had done nothing wrong, always denying the charges of human trafficking, child abduction, rape, meeting a child after sexual grooming and four counts of sexual assault and sexual activity with a child, all alleged to have occurred on January 28, 2015.
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