Sir Jeffrey Donaldson: former DUP leader released on bail after court appearance over historical sex charges

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The former DUP leader appeared at Newry Magistrates' Court facing a number of historical sex charges

Former DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been released on continuing bail after appearing in court in relation to historical sex charges involving two alleged victims.

Sir Jeffrey, 61, is facing a total of 11 charges including rape, committing an act of gross indecency and nine charges of indecent assault which allegedly took place between 1985 and 2006. The former political leader appeared at Newry Magistrates' Court alongside his wife, Lady Eleanor Donaldson, who is facing charges of aiding and abetting in relation to the alleged offences.

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Following the allegations, Sir Jeffrey resigned as DUP leader and has been suspended from the party, with East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson replacing him as leader. He has remained the MP for Lagan Valley.

Sir Jeffery and his wife were arrested at their home on 28 March and were charged with the offences after a day of questioning. At their appearance in court, the couple stood in the dock separated by a custody officer and only spoke to confirm their name and dates of birth.

The pair were both released on a £350 bail. The case is set to be mentioned again on May 22, but neither are required to attend on this occasion.

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