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trial axed Fermanagh man (85) set to stand trial facing indecent assault charges dies

James Balmer was charged with five counts of indecent assault

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The first person to be charged as part of an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in County Fermanagh has passed away.

James Balmer (85) had previously appeared before Dungannon Crown Court and had pleaded not guilty to charges involving one count of indecent assault against one person and four counts against another between the years 1988 and 1990.

The accused, from the Cherryville area of Enniskillen, was due to stand trial next year.

At Balmer’s first appearance his defence had applied to ban the press from revealing his identity, however District Judge Steven Keown threw out the application saying the defence had not provided sufficient advance notice of the application of the order and the grounds for anonymity had not been met.

Earlier in the case Balmer’s defence had sought to delay proceedings citing concerns over their client’s mental health.

After a psychiatric assessment Balmer was ruled fit to stand trial.

Today the court was informed by the prosecution that Balmer had died, and as a result, the case is due to be closed within a few weeks.

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