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Last Updated: Monday, 15 January 2007, 17:39 GMT
Ex-councillor denies sex assault
Roger Hutchinson
Roger Hutchinson was a DUP councillor and assembly member
A former DUP councillor and assembly member accused of groping a female council employee allegedly told her he was "dying about" her, a jury was told.

Belfast Crown Court also heard claims that after the alleged indecent assault, Roger Norman Hutchinson, said it would be "our secret".

Mr Hutchinson, 54, of Millar's Forge, Dundonald, denies a single charge of indecent assault on 31 March 2003.

The incident allegedly took place at Newtownabbey Council's headquarters.

A prosecuting lawyer 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 the meeting at Mossley Mill.

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

He told the jury: "It's up to you to decide if that was ignorance or if that was a man desperate to get through to her before she made a complaint to the police or council?"

Denial

The former councillor was arrested and interviewed about the claims, but Mr Adair told the court that although Mr Hutchinson accepted making the phone calls, he denied any inappropriate behaviour on his part.

He further agreed that as a religious minister was beginning to start the council meeting off with a bible reading and a prayer, he left the chamber but claimed he had gone to the toilet and had stayed on the fourth floor - his alleged victim's desk being on the third.

However, Mr Adair declared: "The Crown case is that while the minister was doing his reading and prayers at this council meeting, this man was down indecently assaulting this woman on floor three and that's where he was, we say, during the minutes that he left the meeting."

The lawyer added that although Mr Hutchinson had claimed he had left for around five minutes, the Crown would adduce statements from his fellow councillors that they "have him away for substantially longer than that".

The hearing continues.






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