Former DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to face 18 sex charges

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By Creative Media News

  • Former DUP leader faces 18 sex crime charges
  • Donaldson and wife to appear in court
  • Charges involve alleged crimes from 1985-2006

When the Northern Ireland politician was arrested in March, he resigned as the leader of the DUP.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the former leader of the DUP, will stand trial on charges of 18 previous sex crimes.

District Judge Eamonn King of Newry Magistrates’ Court said he was persuaded that Donaldson, 61, and his wife, Lady Eleanor Donaldson, 58, also facing charges, had a prima facie case to answer during the committal hearing.

They will appear in Newry Crown Court on September 10 for an arraignment hearing before their trial.

Donaldson is accused of one crime of rape, four counts of gross indecency, and thirteen counts of indecent assault.

His wife is facing charges of assisting and abetting in connection with the alleged crimes.

The offences are said to have occurred between 1985 and 2006 and included two accused victims.

Donaldson has previously stated that he will contest the charges against him.

The Northern Irish politician was initially charged with 11 sex offences in April, but that was upped to 18 on Tuesday, while his wife’s charges were enhanced from four to five following a review of the police evidence by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), as is standard procedure.

Donaldson, Northern Ireland’s longest-serving MP, resigned as DUP leader on March 28 after being charged following a day of interrogation.

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He was suspended by his party and served as an independent MP until the election was held in May. He is not seeking re-election as Lagan Valley MP, where he has served for 27 years.

In a letter to the party following the allegations, he said he would vigorously dispute the charges.

In 2016, Donaldson received a knighthood for his political contributions.

He assisted in brokering the DUP’s £1 billion confidence and supply agreement with Theresa May’s minority Tory administration, which controlled the balance of power in Westminster from 2017 to 2019.

More recently, he compromised and returned his party to the power-sharing government at Stormont, which it had boycotted for two years due to post-Brexit trading arrangements.

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