Sex slavery accused have trial postponed

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The trial of a Craigavon couple accused of a litany of serious sex offences has been postponed due to issues getting an expert witness.

The defence barrister for Caroline Bernadette Baker told Craigavon Crown Court today (Tuesday) that they had been attempting to contact an expert witness but the person had yet to respond.

Mrs Baker, who is 53 and whose address cannot be revealed for legal reasons, faces a number of serious sex charges.

They include false imprisonment, inciting a person with a mental disability to perform a sex act and aiding and abetting rape.

She is also accused of sexual activity involving penetration and indecent assault on a female.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on dates between May 1, 2004 and December 20, 2012.

Her co-accused and husband Keith Baker, who is formerly from Craigavon but now in custody at Maghaberry Prison is also accused with sex offences.

Mr Baker, who is aged 61, faces four charges of rape.

He is also accused of false imprisonment, sexual activity involving penetration and performing a sex act with a person.

He is further accused of inciting a person with mental disability to perform a sex act, two further counts of rape and indecent assault on a female.

These charges against Mr Baker are also alleged to have occurred on dates between May 1, 2004 and December 20, 2012.

At a previous court last month, Mrs Baker’s lawyers said expert witnesses in Stockholm Syndrome were being sought.

Mrs Baker’s barrister told Craigavon Crown Court today (Tuesday) that he had left messages and sent emails to the expert witness but had not received a response.

He added that an expert witness was necessary for Mrs Baker’s case.

Judge Patrick Lynch asked if he was saying the trial would not be able to proceed on Monday.

Mrs Baker’s barrister said that was the situation.

A prosecution barrister told the court that if any expert witness testimony did come in, they would also need time to consider it.

Mr Baker’s barrister pointed out that his client remained in custody during the delays.

Judge Lynch said he would vacate the trial date for the case to return for a progress report in three weeks on April 26.

When probed, Judge Lynch said it would not be possible to look at a future trial date at this stage.