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Jeffrey Donaldson (left) at Newry Magistrates' Court last month when he was released on bail Alamy

Jeffrey Donaldson will not seek re-election amid historical sex offences case, says solicitor

The politician is charged with a number of sex charges, including one count of rape.


FORMER DUP LEADER Jeffrey Donaldson, who is facing a series of historical sex offence charges, will not contest the general election, his solicitor has confirmed.

The statement came after a judge fixed a date for a hearing to establish whether there is sufficient evidence to send Donaldson to trial.

At Newry Magistrate’s Court this morning, a representative of the Public Prosecution Service said the case is “progressing quite expeditiously”.

They aim to hold the preliminary inquiries on 3 July, which will be reviewed on 12 June to ensure the case is on track.

Preliminary inquiries involve written statements and evidence being shared in court for the judge to determine whether the case should go to the Crown Court.

Donaldson is charged with a number of sex charges, including one count of rape. 

He stepped down as DUP leader after being arrested in March.

He was released on bail last month. Bail was set at £350.

One of its conditions was that Donaldson was to have no unsupervised contact with people under the age of 16. The supervisor cannot be his co-defendant.

Neither he or his wife Eleanor Donaldson were required to attend today’s brief hearing.

The charges against the 61-year-old span a 21-year period and relate to two alleged victims.

Included in the charges is one of committing an “act of gross indecency towards a child”, between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2006.

Donaldson’s wife, Eleanor Donaldson, also appeared in court last month to face charges in relation to the same police investigation – including aiding and abetting in relation to the rape charge against Donaldson.

After today’s hearing, Donaldson’s solicitor John McBurney confirmed that the Lagan Valley MP would not be standing for re-election, but indicated he intends to remains as an MP until the general election.

“I can indicate that it is not Jeffrey’s intention, of course, to stand for re-election,” he told reporters.

“He will be concentrating on the case and defending the charges. He is continuing as the MP at the present time. There’s various matters to be dealt (with), constituency matters and administrative matters to do with his offices and so forth.”

Includes reporting by Press Association

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