MAN TO STAND TRIAL FOR SEX WITH ANIMAL

Accused: Garth Williams.
Accused: Garth Williams.

A civil engineer living in Portstewart has been ordered to stand trial accused of having sexual intercourse with an animal.

Standing in the dock of Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry on Thursday, 43-year-old Garth Michael Williams was charged with two counts of allowing himself to be penetrated by a living animal on a date unknown between 1 February 2009 and 4 April last year.

In addition Williams, wearing a grey fleece jumper and beige trousers, was charged with 10 offences of distributing indecent images of children, 17 counts of possessing or making indecent images of children and two further charges of possessing extreme pornography, all alleged to have occurred on various dates between 10 October 2011 and 4 April 2014.

Williams, previously from the Mill Road, Ballyroney in Banbridge but now with an address at the Station Road in Portstewart, confirmed that he had received copies of legal papers for the Preliminary Enquiry to which he was not objecting.

A prosecuting lawyer submitted that “on the basis of the papers before the court, there is a prima facie case to answer.”

As defence lawyer Chris Sherard took no issue with that submission, Deputy District Judge Amanda Brady said she was satisfied there was enough evidence to return the case to the Crown Court for trial.

Williams agreed that he was aware of the 31 charges levelled against him and although given the opportunity to give evidence, comment on them or call witnesses on his behalf, with a warning that anything said “maybe given in evidence at your trial,” he declined.

Remanding Williams back into custody, Judge Brady ordered him to appear at Newry Crown Court on March19 for arraignment.

Mr Sherard asked for legal aid to be extended to allow a senior QC to be instructed, revealing that “some of the images and videos that were recovered are categories four and five,” the most serious categories but the judge said she was “not minded” to grant the application which can be renewed before the Crown Court judge.