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Defence solicitor for Harold Burke says handling of the case has been ‘shambolic’

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BT Coleraine

A defence solicitor for a Coleraine man who was allegedly targeted in a so-called ‘paedophile hunter’ group “sting” told a court on Monday that hold-ups in the case have been “shambolic”.

Harold Burke (59), of Quilly Road, is charged with two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child and two of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He is also accused of possessing 370 rounds of .22 ammunition in suspicious circumstances. The charges relate to July and August last year.

Burke appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday March 25 via video link from Maghaberry Prison.

A prosecutor said they were seeking a further adjournment in the case of two weeks.

A defence solicitor slammed the delays saying: “This has to be one of the most shambolic cases in Coleraine”.

He said the defendant had been in custody on remand since last summer.

The lawyer said the case involved “one of these hunter group stings”.

At a later date, the solicitor said, the defendant was spoken to by police about new allegations involving a similar group in Dublin.
District Judge Peter King said the court had previously been told a full file from police was meant to have been due with prosecutors last October but it had still to be received months later.

Burke was further remanded in custody and the case adjourned to April 8.

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