Northern Ireland

'Holy man' found guilty of sexually abusing 12-year-old girl

Charanjit Image copyright Alan Lewis
Image caption Charanjit was found guilty by a majority verdict at Belfast Crown Court

A "holy man" has been convicted of sexually abusing a girl who was brought to him with a stomach complaint.

The man, known as Charanjit, 46, of Twinburn Gardens, Newtownabbey, County Antrim was found guilty at Belfast Crown Court.

The jury returned a majority verdict after over five hours of deliberation.

The charges against him included two counts of rape, sexual assault of a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

They relate to a period spanning from 30 September 2012 to 1 February 2013.

He is due to be sentenced next month.

During the trial, the victim, now aged 14, told the court that she was brought to Charanjit, as he was known in the Indian community, for treatment as he was considered a holy man or healer.

She said that the man diagnosed her as having a stone in her stomach.

The victim said that she visited him twice and was sexually abused on both occasions.

The defendant denied the charges throughout the trial. However, the jury rejected his version of events.

The judge remanded Charanjit in custody until he is sentenced in November.

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