Ballynahinch pensioner to be jailed for sexually abusing girls

Christopher O’Hare found guilty of 13 counts of indecent assault

AJudge Grant said given the convictions, the man faces a “certain” prison sentence. Photograph: Reuters

AJudge Grant said given the convictions, the man faces a “certain” prison sentence. Photograph: Reuters

 

A paedophile pensioner from Ballynahinch is to be jailed after a jury unanimously convicted him sexually abusing two girls.

The Downpatrick Crown Court jury of six men and six women deliberated for around three hours over two days before returning to find Christopher O’Hare (70) unanimously guilty of a total of 13 counts of indecent assault – six against one victim and seven against another.

In relation to the second victim, who was abused on various dates between April 1st, 1986 and March 1st, 1990, the jury found him unanimously not guilty of four counts of rape and there further charges of indecent assault.

After being told by trial Judge Piers Grant that he could accept majority verdicts on which at least 10 agreed in relation to the remanding five charges on indecent assault, the jury retired for a further 40 minutes before finding O’Hare not guilty of four of the counts but were “hopelessly split” on he last remaining charge.

Although the Crown are to take instructions whether O’Hare will face a retrial on that count, Judge Grant told the man that given the convictions, he faces a “certain” prison sentence.

Adjourning passing that sentence until March 24th, by which time a presentence probation report will have been compiled, O’Hare was released on bail but only after he had signed the police sex offenders register.

During the two-week hearing, the jury heard evidence that when the now grown up girls were around eight years old, O’Hare began to subject them to sexual abuse when they were at his home.

For the first victim, her ordeal began in 1977 and only stopped in 1981 when she told her abuser what he was doing “wasn’t right” so he stopped.

His second victim recounted how O’Hate subjected her to numerous brutal sexual assaults in “a pit”, a derelict building and his home.