Thomas McKenna: Former GAA official to stand trial for sex abuse

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Thomas McKenna
Image caption,
Retired postman Thomas McKenna is a former treasurer of Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club

A former Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club official accused of sexually abusing 23 people over a 27-year period has been ordered to stand trial.

Thomas McKenna, 60, is a former treasurer of the Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club in County Armagh.

He faces 173 charges, including raping three males, sexual activity with a child and 64 charges of sexual assault.

Mr McKenna, whose address was given as c/o Maghaberry Prison, was remanded back into custody by a judge in Newry.

The judge told the defendant she was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer when he appeared before Newry Magistrates' Court via videolink on Wednesday.

It has been alleged that the offences took place over a 27-year period between September 1991 and August 2018.

The charges also include 18 counts of voyeurism and 80 charges of indecent assault.

In addition to the sex abuse allegations, the retired postman also faces two charges of interfering with post.

Mr McKenna spoke via videolink to confirm his personal details and state that he was aware of the charges against him.

He also told the court that he did not object to a preliminary enquiry, a legal step necessary to send a magistrates' court case to a crown court. 

The court clerk told Mr McKenna that although he was not obliged to make any remarks on the charges against him, he had the right to comment on them and to call evidence on his behalf at the preliminary enquiry.

However, Mr McKenna declined the opportunity to comment or call evidence.

The judge told the defendant she was returning him for trial to Newry Crown Court and scheduled the arraignment for 27 April.

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