Northern Ireland

Harbinson guilty on topless schoolgirl pics charge

Mark Harbinson
Image caption Mark Harbinson was found guilty on charges of having indecent photographs of a schoolgirl

Leading loyalist Mark Harbinson has been convicted of having indecent topless photographs of a 13-year-old schoolgirl on his mobile phone.

Harbinson, 44, from Sheepwalk Road in Stoneyford, County Antrim, claimed they had been sent to him by mistake.

The jury found him not guilty of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old schoolboy at a party in February 2007.

They have yet to announce a verdict on another charge of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl at the same party.

They have also not reached any verdicts on seven other charges of sexual activity with a 13-year-old schoolgirl.

Black bra

Harbinson had said he thought he had deleted the unsolicited photographs.

However, his five-week trial at Craigavon Crown Court heard that police later found the pictures on a folder on his mobile, and that they also a picture of the girl in a black bra and white top recovered from another mobile.

It had taken the jury of seven women and five men three hours and 15 minutes to come to their unanimous guilty verdicts on those two charges.

However, the jury unanimously acquitted Harbinson of two charges of "sexually activity" with the 13-year-old between July and September 2009.

Trial Judge Desmond Marrinan told the jury the stage had now been reached when he could accept majority verdicts in the case where at least 10 of their number agree, but only if they cannot come to a unanimous verdict.

The case resumes on Monday.