Jury to go out in David Tweed trial

Published Monday, 26 November 2012
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Jurors in the child sex abuse trial of retired Irish rugby international David Tweed are expected to rise to consider their verdicts on Tuesday.

Jury to go out in David Tweed trial
David Tweed appearing at Antrim court. (© Pacemaker)

Tweed, who played for Ireland and Ulster, stands accused of abusing two young girls who are now adults over an eight-year period.

The Ballymena councillor has denied all 14 counts of indecent assault, gross indecency and inciting gross indecency during his three-week trial at Antrim Crown Court.

The jury was told on Monday to set aside any sympathy for those who claim to be victims and prejudice against those accused of sexual offences.

In his summary, Judge Alistair Devlin said: "You must clear your minds of sympathy - put aside sympathy for people who claim to be victims of child sex abuse. You must also put aside any prejudices which you may have for someone accused of sexual offences."

He added that the 10 women and two men of the jury must take a rational and logical approach to their deliberations.

"If there is a real possibility that he is not guilty, then you must give him the benefit of the doubt and find him not guilty," Judge Devlin continued.

"You should approach the issue of a true verdict with an open mind."

The court was told that Tweed had no obligation to explain why there were so many complaints against him.

Jurors were also warned that while there was no evidence of collusion between the two complainants, they should bear in mind the risk of contamination.

They were told they will be under no time pressure to reach a verdict once they retire.

© UTV News
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