A 63-year-old vicar has denied sexually assaulting a 23-year-old man on a plane.
Rev Peter McConnell allegedly touched the man’s groin area over his clothing while on board a British Airways flight from the US to the UK.
The vicar at St Helen’s Church, in Longhorsley, Northumberland, has pleaded not guilty to the offence, which allegedly happened in March.
McConnell was told he will stand trial next August after entering his not guilty plea at Newcastle Crown Court.
Adjourning the case, Judge Tim Gittins told him: ‘You having pleaded not guilty, I’ve set a timetable today for the work that needs to be done before your trial.
‘Part of the work involves you helping your lawyers in drafting your defence statement, setting out in detail what you say about this allegation.
‘Regrettably, the trial cannot take place until August 28 next year. You may have bail before that date.’
The court heard the trial has a time estimate of at least two days.
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