Northern Ireland

Man accused of child sex offences over eight years

A Belfast man is to stand trial accused of a catalogue of child sex offences stretching back nearly 20 years.

Eugene Pius Smyth, 54, whose address was given as Cavendish Street, faces charges of rape and multiple counts of indecent assault and indecent exposure.

He is accused of gross indecency with a child, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and attempted indecent assault.

The offences are alleged to have been committed between 1992 and 2000.

It is alleged two girls were involved.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court for a preliminary enquiry hearing, Mr Smyth spoke to confirm he understood the charges against him.

He declined to give any evidence or call witnesses at this stage in the case.

District Judge Harry McKibbin granted a prosecution application to have him returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.

The judge also agreed for a defence request to certify for two barristers to represent the accused.

Mr Smyth was released on his own bail of £750.