+

Irish politician Jeffrey Donaldson to Stand Trial for Sex Offense Charges

Former leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Jeffrey Donaldson, is set to stand trial on charges of sex offenses, including one count of rape. The trial is scheduled to begin on September 10, according to a statement from the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS). Donaldson appeared before a preliminary inquiry on […]

Irish politician Jeffrey Donaldson to Stand Trial for Sex Offense Charges
Irish politician Jeffrey Donaldson to Stand Trial for Sex Offense Charges

Former leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Jeffrey Donaldson, is set to stand trial on charges of sex offenses, including one count of rape. The trial is scheduled to begin on September 10, according to a statement from the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS).

Donaldson appeared before a preliminary inquiry on Wednesday, which decided to proceed with the trial. The former DUP leader stepped down from his position in March after being initially charged with 11 sexual offenses. Since then, an additional seven charges have been brought against him, bringing the total to 18 alleged offenses. These include one charge of rape, 13 charges of indecent assault of a female child, and four charges of gross indecency towards a child.

During the court appearance, when asked if he wanted to comment on the charges, Donaldson replied, “Not at this stage,” according to PA Media.

Donaldson’s wife, Eleanor Donaldson, is also set to stand trial in September. She faces one charge of aiding and abetting rape, three charges of aiding and abetting assault of a female child, and one charge of cruelty towards a person under the age of 16.

Jeffrey Donaldson led the DUP from 2019, navigating the party through the tumultuous Brexit process and voicing strong opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, a critical component of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Both Donaldson and his wife have denied all charges, as reported by Irish public broadcaster RTÉ on Wednesday.

The announcement of Donaldson’s trial comes as Northern Ireland prepares to vote in the UK general election. Northern Ireland, one of the UK’s four devolved nations, has 18 seats in the Westminster parliament. Politicians from Northern Ireland can choose to run for seats in either Westminster or the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly. Sinn Féin lawmakers, the leading Nationalist party, do not take up their seats in Westminster if elected.

Donaldson had been expected to run again in the Lagan Valley constituency but has been replaced by his former DUP colleague Jonathan Buckley.

Tags:

IrelandSexual Assault CaseTDGThe Daily Guardian