A businessman living in Thailand charged with historic sex offenses against his brother and sister has returned to Northern Ireland in an attempt to clear his name, a court said today.
The accused’s lawyer, 59, claimed to have received “threatening” emails from one of the alleged victims during civil proceedings concerning a homestead.
The man, who cannot be identified, denies charges of rape, indecent assault and death threats.
The alleged offenses were committed in the Greater Belfast area between 1969 and 1981.
The accused was arrested at Heathrow Airport in July this year after traveling to the UK for his daughter’s college degree.
A preliminary inquiry into the strength of the case was due to take place today in Belfast Magistrates’ Court.
But defense attorney Joe McVeigh has raised questions about how the prosecution was brought.
Mr McVeigh argued that the complaints against his client arose amid an ongoing family dispute in the High Court.
“He was aware of what can only be described as threatening emails from one of two siblings who made allegations dating back to the 1970s,” the lawyer said.
“He then contacted the police to see if it was just a posturing.”
According to Mr. McVeigh, the accused had been informed that he was not wanted for questioning, but only to be detained while boarding a return flight.
“He was a man who wanted to come to Northern Ireland to face these allegations, just to put them to bed,” he said.
Under the current bail conditions, the defendant is prohibited from leaving the jurisdiction.
However, he is about to apply for permission to return home for tax and citizenship reasons.
“He is the director of a very successful company in the Far East,” said McVeigh.
“There are financial implications for him if he were to reside for 9 days in Northern Ireland.”
The lawyer added: “He is not only asserting his innocence, but (protecting) his professional reputation.”
Adjourning the case, District Judge Mark McGarrity called the prosecution process “unorthodox.”
He said: “Before I look into the residency issue, I need to know what the prosecution is doing.”
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