Jeffrey Donaldson Faces 11 Charges including Rape

Jeffrey Donaldson faces 11 charges including rape

The charges against former Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Jeffrey Donaldson have been revealed for the first time.

Sunday Life reported the 61-year-old politician faces 11 historical sexual offence charges including rape.

His wife Eleanor Donaldson is charged with aiding and abetting additional offences in relation to her husband’s case.

The charges against the pair will be formally put to them when the case is heard at Newry Magistrates Court for the first time on April 24th.

Belfast-based journalist Amanda Ferguson told Newstalk Breakfast, however, the charges remain“a legally sensitive topic”.

“There may be some changes to the charge sheet,” she said.

“An official breakdown hasn’t been provided yet – you wouldn’t usually get that until the first court appearance.

“It’s possible that the PPS makes adjustments to the charges that Jeffrey Donaldson faces.”

Following the charges, Mr Donaldson resigned as DUP leader on March 29th. Deputy DUP leader Gavin Robinson was appointed interim leader.

Mr Donaldson is Northern Ireland’s longest-standing MP, first elected in 1997, and had been the DUP’s leader in the UK House of Commons since 2019.

It is understood he will contest the charges against him, but Ms Ferguson said “the political ramifications of what’s unfolded over the Easter week are being felt to this day”.

The DUP following Mr Donaldson
The North South Ministerial Council will take place in Armagh today as ministers from both sides of the Irish border meet to discuss ongoing cooperation between the two governments.

Amid this meeting, Ms Ferguson said the “media operation will be tightly controlled” for those in the DUP.

“It remains to be seen whether Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly of the DUP will take questions because last week, the DUP were at a very tightly-controlled press conference with only selected media outlets invited,” she said.

Ms Ferguson also noted this will be outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s last official outing as leader of the country before handing the reins to Simon Harris.

“It will also be the first time North South Ministerial Council has been in Armagh since 2016,” she said. “Back when Enda Kenny, Baroness Arlene Foster and the late Martin McGuinness were running the show.”

It is expected ministers today will discuss business, shared infrastructure and cooperation between the two states on the island.
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Credit to : Newstalk

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