A 39-year-old man has been remanded in custody after appearing in court on a series of charges linked to the alleged rape of a 16-year-old boy in west Belfast last weekend. Gerard Scannell, from Ballymurphy Road, was charged at Belfast Magistrates’ Court with three counts of rape as well as sexually assaulting the teenager.

The teenager was attacked in the Falls Park area of the city in the early hours of Saturday, July 16.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell told District Judge Fiona Bagnall that Scannell has “co-operated fully with the police investigation”. He also said Scannell had consistently denied the allegations.

Mr Farrell said that at this stage, the defence was “not in a position to launch a bail application” but asked that the case be listed again next week for the purpose of fixing a date for such an application.

A representative from the PPS said: “Any application for bail will be strongly objected to.