Published Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Omar Qaradha is set to be arraigned next month. (© Pacemaker)
District Judge Mervyn Bates told 32-year-old wheelchair-bound Omar Sami Qaradha he had a prima-facie case to answer, in light of the evidence given and what he had read, and in the absence of any contrary defence submissions.
Qaradha will be formally arraigned before Antrim Crown Court next month with the three charges of sexual touching he faces.
He is accused of touching a therapist whilst being massaged and of assaulting two teenage girls.
The offences allegedly arise from when he and his team mates were using the Antrim Forum sports complex as a training base along with several other international teams.
At the time, two other Jordanians, Faisal Hamash and Motaz Al-Juneidi were arrested and charged along with him on 21 August last year, just a week before the start of the London Games.
Although the charges were later withdrawn against 36-year-old trainer Hamash and 46-year-old Al-Juneidi, the bronze winning wheelchair powerlifter of the Beijing Games, all three were not allowed to compete at London.
The Jordanian Paralympic Committee had said in a written statement that it decided to pull the three out of the Paralympics because it "would be inappropriate for the accused athletes to compete" in the Games.
Although on Wednesday Qaradha declined to give any evidence, or to call any evidence or witnesses on his behalf, his defence solicitor Tony Cahir, in applying for two counsel, said there "will be considerable evidence advanced" at the powerlifter's trial.
King Abdullah of Jordan still has a personal interest in the case, and on Wednesday, the court heard that an official from the Jordanian Embassy in London was present with a letter of authorisation to secure Qaradha's bail of £5,500 with the promise of his return to stand trial.
Earlier in a deposition from one of his alleged victims, a therapist said she was giving the athlete a massage at the Antrim Forum on 20 August, when he put his arm on her right breast.
The "shocked and disgusted" therapist said she left the room, excusing herself by pretending she was going to get him a glass of water.
However, instead she went and reported the matter to senior management.
Later a mother of a teenage girl told the court that her daughter confided in her that on 16 August , while being photographed with members of the Jordanian team, one of them touched her between the legs.
A few days later, her daughter allegedly identified Qaradha as her attack from a photograph in the local newspaper, the Antrim Guardian.
A policewoman also told the court that she was on duty in Antrim Station two days later when another teenage girl and her mother reported another 'incident .... in the vicinity of the Antrim Forum'.
The girl, who appeared to be quite nervous and distressed, also gave a description of her alleged assailant.
© UTV News