Ex-rugby star Tweed 'lived a lie'

David Tweed appearing at Antrim Crown Court.

The trial of former Ireland rugby international David Tweed, who is accused of abusing two young girls, has heard that he used his position to "live a lie".

Friday, 23 November 2012
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Tweed, a Ballymena councillor, denies all charges against him in relation to alleged sexual abuse against two girls - who are now adults - over an eight-year period.

The trial, heard by Judge Alistair Devlin, has been ongoing for the past three weeks and the jury of 10 women and two men is expected to rise to consider its verdict at the beginning of next week.

During closing submissions on Friday, a prosecution barrister claimed that Tweed had "the perfect veil to hide behind".

Laura Ievers added that his defence was clutching at straws, in a bid to explain the inexplicable.

"He is clearly contradicting himself, in effect, to explain how and why these allegations occurred," the barrister told Antrim Crown Court.

At times, Tweed shook his head in the dock when details of the charges were explained to the jury.

The trial has reached an important stage - you have now heard all of the evidence.

Judge Alistair Devlin

His defence barrister Laurence McCrudden QC said that allegations of sexual abuse were easy to make, but difficult to refute.

He further told the court that the flashbacks claimed to have been suffered by the two girls' were not true memories.

"They have grown and become distorted and disfigured with the passage of time," he said.

Tweed stands accused of and denies a total of 14 charges, including indecent assault, gross indecency and inciting gross indecency.

The jury was told by both the prosecution and defence lawyers that they must be completely sure of their verdict.

"You must decide the case coldly and clinically based on the evidence," Ms Ievers said.

"Probably is not good enough to find him guilty. You must be sure in order to convict him."

Mr McCrudden added: "If you are uncertain, if you are unhappy or uneasy about the evidence ... if you are hesitant, I submit that's a reasonable doubt.

"The law says - thankfully - that, if that reasonable doubt exists, he's entitled to the benefit of the doubt."

The jury members were further told by Judge Devlin that they would not be put under any time pressure to decide on their verdict.

The trial continues.