“A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure said…”

The BBC are reporting that 3 men, believed to be associated with the Jordanian Paralympic squad, have been charged following allegations of sexual assault at Antrim Forum.  From the BBC report

The three men, aged 36, 35 and 23 are expected to appear before Coleraine Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The 23-year old-man has been charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual assault on a woman and voyeurism.

The 35-year-old man has been charged with two counts of causing sexual activity with a child.

The 36-year-old man has been charged with one count of sexual assault against a woman.

The BBC understands Northern Ireland Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin called an emergency meeting with Sport NI and a PR company.

Update  The latest BBC report corrects the ages of those charged

Faisal Hammash, 35, a trainer with the squad, faces two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Power-lifter Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, is charged with three counts of sexual assault and one of voyeurism. At least two of the assaults were against children.

Motaz Al-Junad, 45, also a power-lifter, faces one charge of sexual assault. All the offences took place between 16 and 20 August.

, , , , , , , , ,

  • sdelaneys

    Oh yes, certainly, a PR team would be a priority, must get the image right above all else, harrumph. God forbid that child protection should ever come first, minister.

  • leftofcentre

    Well the executive only has 200 or so media staff so obviously they have no one around who can advise them.

    They need a external pr company to help them spin it into a good news story. “a heart warming tale of how these men overcame their disabilities to become full members of the sex offenders community…”

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    “PR Company” is this to work out who the real victims are???

  • Drumlins Rock

    I presume the idea is to prevent unwise speculation and comment in the media from politicians, officials or other commentators that could create either a diplomatic incident or jepordise the investigation.

  • Dec

    This is clearly a very disturbing incident involving alleged sexual abuse of a child. Those who appear to be using this incident to indulge in a bit of party-political point scoring need to go a have a good luck in the nearest mirror.

  • iluvni

    They’ll be headed straight to their Embassy if they get bail.

  • Pete Baker

    Update The latest BBC report corrects the ages of those charged

    Faisal Hammash, 35, a trainer with the squad, faces two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

    Power-lifter Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, is charged with three counts of sexual assault and one of voyeurism. At least two of the assaults were against children.

    Motaz Al-Junad, 45, also a power-lifter, faces one charge of sexual assault. All the offences took place between 16 and 20 August.

  • Its a personal tragedy for the young person/s involved and of course their families.
    On a different level it is a reminder that this part of the world cannot simply churn out a succession of “feel good” stories.
    There is always a possibility of low level hooliganism, excessive drinking or open defiance of laws on drugs……when the “fleet hits town” or when a big show like the Olympics or a rock concert hits town……and the forces of law and order are told to keep a low profile. What the General Public doesnt know wont hurt us.

    Hence the panic over this Antrim Forum story……it is too serious. it simply wont just go away.

  • sdelaneys

    Dec,
    “this is clearly a very disturbing incident involving alleged sexual abuse of a child. Those who appear to be using this incident to indulge in a bit of party-political point scoring need to go a have a good luck in the nearest mirror.”

    So do you really believe that hiring a PR company is the best way to deal with this and if so why, or are you simply annoyed that some people are not ‘on message’ when the great and the good of Stormont PLC ‘British subsidiary’, of course, speak? If so you would certainly need to take a good ‘luck’ or even a look in a mirror.

  • Reader

    sdelaneys: Oh yes, certainly, a PR team would be a priority, must get the image right above all else, harrumph. God forbid that child protection should ever come first, minister.
    To be fair, it wouldn’t be DCAL with the job of trying to resolve that part of the mess. I assume there’s other work going on in the other departments.

  • sdelaneys

    Reader ,
    yes, there is supposed to be ‘work going on in the other departments.’ but if it is anything like the farce described in today’s Irish News by Joe Rice, solicitor for the victims of institutional abuse and with specific reference to the OFMDFM then it is little more than a farce, Rice says, that the victims are being faced with ‘a maze of disinformation’ , ‘it’s obfuscation to the nth degree’ he said and ‘there is no clear detail, no leadership being shown by OFMDFM in this.’ This was in response to grandiose sounding sound bites made on the issue over a period of time with the , now clear, intent of trying to keep people quiet by force of woolly possibilities rather than a single practicality. A PR firm sounds about right in this context too, anything but reality and action.

  • uth

    The individuals concerned have returned to Jordan, thats the end of their asylum bid.

  • Local hack

    From experience it is widespread practice for government departments to employ a PR company.

    I have been at events were you have the usual press officers and then another – well-suited – person running the operation from a private company.