Men appear in court jointly accused of rape of 12-year-old girl
Two men have appeared in court on Thursday jointly accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.
Standing side by side in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court, 27-year-old Gerard Michael Owen McKenna and Paul Sheridan (23) confirmed they understood their respective charges.
McKenna, from Rockville Street in Belfast and unemployed Sheridan, from Hillfoot Crescent in Ballynahinch, were jointly charged with the rape and sexual assault by penetration of a female child under 13 on December 23 this year.
Shop employee McKenna was further charged with three additional counts of sexually assaulting a second 15-year-old female child by penetrating her private parts and anus with his fingers, tendering counterfeit currency, stealing alcohol worth £2.99 from a Spar shop and two counts of making a threat to kill two males.
According to the charge sheet detailing the offences, Sheridan made no reply after he was cautioned while McKenna declared "shove it up your hole" when the rape offence was put to him and declared others as "madness" and "not true".
It is understood the charges arise following an incident at the Lagan Towpath on Monday.
Giving evidence to the court, Detective Sergeant McArthur said he could connect both men to the charges against them. He said police had objections to their bail applications amid fears they would commit further offences or interfere with the witnesses.
Despite defence submissions the men could be freed with bail conditions to assuage those concerns, District Judge Amanda Henderson said she shared the police concerns "not least to do with the age and vulnerability of the injured parties" so she was refusing bail.
Sheridan and McKenna will appear again via videolink on January 6.