Northern Ireland

Martin Doherty and Paul Berne sent for trial over sex assault on man

Belfast Magistrates Court
Image caption The men spoke only to confirm they understood the charges at Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday

Two men are to stand trial charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault of another man three years ago, Belfast Magistrates Court has ruled.

Martin Doherty, 34, whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison, is charged with sexually assaulting the man in the city in November 2009.

Paul Berne, 26, of Coolfin Street in Belfast, is accused of aiding and abetting in the offence.

The judge ruled both should be returned for trial on a date to be fixed.

At the preliminary enquiry proceedings on Wednesday, both defendants spoke only to confirm they understood the charges.

They each declined an opportunity to give evidence or call witnesses at this stage.

A prosecution lawyer said there was a prima facie case against the pair and sought to have them stand trial.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted the application.