Tweed cleared of indecent assault but jury undecided on 13 other charges

Former Irish rugby international David Tweed has been cleared of one charge of indecent assault, but the jury is still considering 13 other allegations of child sex abuse.

Mr Tweed, aged 53, of Clonavon Terrace in Ballymena, Co Antrim, is standing trial at Antrim Crown Court.

The railway supervisor, who is also a Ballymena councillor, was charged with sexually abusing two young girls over an eight-year period from 1988.

It took the jury of 10 women and two men five hours yesterday to reach a verdict on one count of indecent assault against the first of the alleged victims after a trial which has lasted for more than three weeks.

The foreman told the court that jurors had not yet come up with a verdict on the 13 other charges, which include gross indecency and inciting indecency.

They will return to court number two today to resume their deliberations.

Judge Alistair Devlin told the jurors: “You must decide this case on the evidence you have heard.”

Mr Tweed was accused of 14 counts of child sex abuse, including indecent assault, gross indecency with a child, and incitement to commit an act of gross indecency with a child.

He has denied that anything improper had happened with the girls, who are now adults.

Mr Tweed stood in the dock as the court clerk read out the charges.

Only one of the alleged victims was in court. She wept and clutched hands with other relatives as the jury foreman said they had not yet reached verdicts on 13 of the 14 counts.

Mr Tweed’s barrister, Laurence McCrudden, said his client had been the victim of a conspiracy and that the girls’ memories had been distorted into dangerous phantoms.

Meanwhile, Laura Ievers, for the prosecution, has said Mr Tweed used his sporting achievements and position in society to live a lie and she said the claimants had no reason to make up the allegations.

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