British soldier pleads not guilty to rape charge in Newry

Accused granted bail despite previous attempt to leave barracks in boot of car

The court allowed Robert Politi (29), with an address of Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, to return to his family in England pending his trial despite his failure to pay a surety of £1,000.

The court allowed Robert Politi (29), with an address of Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, to return to his family in England pending his trial despite his failure to pay a surety of £1,000.

 

A serving British soldier in Northern Ireland who attempted to smuggle himself out of army barracks in the boot of car has pleaded not guilty to rape at Newry crown court.

Robert Politi (29) originally from Birkenhead, with an address of Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, is further charged with sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by touching on June 21st, 2020.

The defendant was due to appear at Newry crown court on Thursday, but had not yet perfected a £1,000 cash surety bail from Maghaberry prison.

The accused had previously been held in military custody, but was taken into public prison due to a previous breach of bail.

On arraignment, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” to all charges via video link to Newry crown court.

Defence barrister, Kieran Mallon QC said that the cash surety of £1,000 due to be paid by his client’s brother “would now appear to now be a bridge too far” financially.

Prosecution barrister, Fiona O’Kane in response stated, that “as far as the prosecution is concerned, we don’t think that the defendant should be released on bail at all”.

His Honour Judge Paul Ramsay, on altering the bail surety to one that would be paid if a breach occurred, referred to the “flagrant disregard” of previous bail conditions by the accused and alluded to a need to “concentrate the mind” of Mr Politi that he would not breach once again.

“You have previously attempted to smuggle yourself out of the barracks in the boot of a car,” said Judge Ramsay.

“The police and the army both lost patience with you and I can understand why.

“You now have to go back to the Wirral and live with your mother and father.

“You must also adhere to a curfew, sign two times a week at a police station,” added the judge.

Mr Politi told the court that he understood the bail condition and promised not to breach them. “I give my word,” he said.

“To ensure you do not, your brother will be going £1,000 bail,” warned Judge Ramsay.

The case was adjourned for a trial to commence on January 31st, 2022.