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Stephen Barnes/Northern Ireland / Alamy Stock Photo
Belfast Magistrates Court.jpg
Stephen Barnes/Northern Ireland / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Former pastor extradited from Canada to NI on suspicion of historic child sex offences

by Premier Journalist

A former pastor has appeared in court in Belfast, accused of historical child sexual abuse after being extradited from Canada.

James Clarke, also known as Henry Clarke, has been charged with the historical sexual abuse of two boys, alleged to have occurred between January 1966 and May 1974.

Clarke is accused of three counts of indecent assault on a male from 1st January 1966 to 14th May 1974.

The first victim's charges include two counts of indecent assault from 1st January 1966 to 1st January 1972. For the second complainant, there is one charge alleged to have been committed between 14th May 1970 and 14th May 1974.

The pastor’s lawyer told Belfast Magistrates Court that bail conditions had been finalised in agreement with the prosecution, and a police-approved address had been provided. He also requested legal aid for the former pastor, who has now retired and spent time in custody in Canada.

A police officer also requested Clarke surrender his passport and provide a surety as part of his bail conditions.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that papers for a Preliminary Enquiry, the legal step necessary to elevate any criminal case to the Crown Court, “are in the process of being prepared”.

District Judge Amanda Henderson accepted the requests and freed Clarke on bail. He will appear in court again on 22nd September.



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