Elderly man convicted of sexual assault turns on police

A 71-year-old Newtownbutler man who was convicted of a sexual assault charge in his absence, has been remanded in custody following his arrest by bench warrant.
Martin Connolly from Galloon Gardens was found guilty on May 31 of intentionally touching a female. Having failed to appear before Enniskillen Magistrates Court in April, the case proceeded without him and on conviction the arrest warrant was issued.
He was located in a caravan on August 2 and it is alleged two officers were assaulted as they tried to execute the warrant.
A police officer confirmed the new charges could be connected.
She objected to bail pointing out efforts to trace Connolly lasted several months without success, but he was later found residing in a caravan situated on his own land.
However, when spoken to, he gave police his brother’s name so officers made their way to another house where the occupant confirmed he was the Connolly in question.
They returned to the caravan where he “immediately became obstructive and confrontational”, before punching an officer in the face.
He then assaulted another officer and resisted arrest. The court was told the caravan in which Connolly was located is “totally uninhabitable” and extremely close to the border.
“We’ve no faith the defendant will attend court and there is a risk of further offending given he actively resisted arrest and further offences were committed,” said the officer.
A defence solicitor said the caravan is situated on land owned by Connolly and while the court case was pending, he tried to take steps to obtain grant aid funding, “To make it more habitable.”
In respect of the sex case, the defence advised he and a barrister where in attendance ready for the content and Connolly had also been present, “For a couple of hours, but for reasons which don’t justify any explanation he decided to leave the court, intending to return when the case was called. However as a result he was convicted in his absence, and the arrest warrant was issued.”
In respect of having this executed Connolly said he was detected in County Cavan for driving offences around a month after his conviction and was unable to secure bail.
He was remanded in custody until last week and subsequently arrested. Bail was refused and District Judge Steven Keown decided to order pre-sentence reports on the sex case and adjourned sentencing until September 5.

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