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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Ex-councillor denies sex charge
Roger Hutchinson
Roger Hutchinson was a DUP councillor and assembly member
A former DUP councillor has gone on trial accused of groping a female council employee's chest.

Belfast Crown Court heard Roger Hutchinson, 54, allegedly carried out the assault at Newtownabbey Borough Council's headquarters in 2003.

Mr Hutchinson, from Millar's Forge in Dundonald, denies a single charge of indecently assaulting the woman.

The court heard he allegedly told the woman he was "dying about you" and "would do anything for you".

The jury also heard claims that after the alleged indecent assault, the accused also told his victim it could be "our secret".

Prosecuting QC Ken McMahon claimed that as Mr Hutchinson walked away he told his shaken victim that if she did tell anyone, "you are finished" before joining his council colleagues for a meeting at the Mossley Mill HQ.

The lawyer told the jury that the day after the alleged incident, Mr Hutchinson tried to phone the woman a dozen times but that when her colleague picked up the call he hung up without speaking.

He declared: "We say he was getting on the phone and started to get concerned about what had happened. We say he was anxious to speak to her because of what he had done to her."

The former councillor and assembly member was arrested and interviewed about the claims, but Mr McMahon told the court that "overall, it's right to say that he denied the allegations".

The accused told police that just before the meeting had started, he had gone to swallow two headache tablets, eat a bar of chocolate and was away for about five minutes before joining the meeting.

Mr Hutchinson also denied that there had ever been any "romantic talk" between himself and his alleged victim.

However, Mr McMahon told the jury, "that's what he says he was doing when we say he was indecently assaulting this woman".

The case continues.

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