By Paul Higgins
A Craigavon man accused of drug rape “wholly denies” the offences against him, a Solicitor declared in court on Monday.
With 26-year-old Colin Barry McGeown appearing in the dock of Craigavon Magistrates Court, defence solicitor Chris McCann told the Court it was the defendants case that any sexual activity with the alleged victim “was consensual.”
Confirming he understood the four charges against him McGeown, with an address on the Charlestown Road, Derrytrasna, was charged with two counts of rape alleging that he penetrated the vagina and anus of the alleged victim, false imprisonment of the complainant and administering a substance, namely “white powder, knowing that she did not consent and with the intention of stupefying or overpowering her so as to enable a person to engage in sexual activity with her,” all of which are alleged to have been committed on 16 February this year.
It is understood the charges arise following an alleged incident in a house in the Garvaghy Park area of Portadownon Friday night/Saturday morning.
Giving evidence to the court , detective constable Anderson testified that he believed he could connect McGeown to each of the offences and that police were “vehemently opposed” to him being freed on bail.
He revealed that due to “rising community tensions there’s a severe threat to the defendants safety so bail is opposed.”
Under cross examination from Mr McCann, the officer further revealed that following the alleged incident, relatives of the complainant “attended prior to the police attending” and were arrested after they allegedly assaulted an individual.
The officer confirmed that during police interviews, McGeown “gave an account that any sexual activity was consensual” and that in a pre-prepared statement, he told police “that for around an hour afterwards, he was in the living room with the complainant with her sitting on his knee and kissing him” before she left in an “undistressed manner.”
“It’s a consent case,” said Mr McCann, “Mr McGeown wholly denies the allegations and doesn’t know why the allegations have been made.”
He said while the police agreed a proposed bail address “some distance away...about eight miles” was suitable, District Judge Bernie Kelly told the lawyer that given what the officer had disclosed about the alleged assault.
He said: “it would need to be some considerable distance away before he could rejoice in some degree of anonymity that would provide some degree of protection where people don’t know him or know who he is.”
“ we are talking about a small local area where I would guess that everybody knows everybody else,“ said the judge.
The bail application was adjourned and a short time later, Mr McCann returned to court with an alternative address, not disclosed in the open court but outside the county court jurisdiction.
Freeing McGeown on his own bail of £500 with a £1,000 surety, Judge Kelly also barred him from alcohol, from abusing drugs and from contacting the alleged victim, she also imposed a curfew.
Moving the case to a different Magistrates Court, with McGeown to appear on 20 March, she warned the alleged rapist: “if I find there has been contact through well meaning family or friends on social media with the IP or discussion of the case, it will be a breach.”