Jordan athletes' case in NI court

Tue, Oct 16, 2012, 01:00

Police are still compiling and analysing evidence against three members of the Jordanian Paralympic squad charged with sex offences in Northern Ireland, a court has heard.

The three members of the powerlifting team were accused of committing a series of crimes while training in Co Antrim ahead of the London Games.

Omar Sami Qaradhi, Faisal Hammash and Motaz Al Junaidi were subsequently withdrawn from the Jordanian squad that competed in the Paralympics.

A lawyer for the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today told Antrim Magistrates’ Court that the PSNI had informed the PPS that they were still awaiting tests on evidence.

Wheelchair user Mr Qaradhi (31), faces three charges of sexual assault, including two against a child  and one of voyeurism after allegedly entering a women’s changing room at the Antrim Forum leisure centre.

Mr Hammash (35), is accused of inciting two girls to engage in sexual activity. Powerlifter Al Junaidi (45), also a wheelchair user, is accused of sexual assault. All three men deny the charges.

The three were released on combined bail and sureties of £5,500 (€6,790) each when they first appeared in court in August. All three men had been excused from appearing at today’s brief mention hearing.

The PPS lawyer asked District Judge Robert Alcorn for a four-week adjournment.  “Are you going to be any further forward in four weeks?” the judge asked. “I suggest you take it for six weeks.”

The lawyer agreed and the case was set for another hearing on November 27th. Tony Caher, representing the three accused, asked Mr Alcorn whether his clients could also be absent from that appearance.

 “Would your worship excuse them on that occasion as well?” he said. The judge acceded to the request.