A BRADFORD police officer has made his first appearance in court charged with rape and sexual assault. 

Police Sergeant Ben Lister, 35, appeared before magistrates at Bradford Crown Court this morning. 

Dressed in a blue suit and with short brown hair, Lister only spoke to confirm his date of birth. 

A West Yorkshire Police officer in the Bradford district, Lister is currently suspended from the force due to the allegations. 

He was charged on March 15 with rape and sexual assault relating to an alleged incident in 2016. 

Prosecutor Richard Davies told the court that the alleged incident took place after Lister had been on a night out.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram passed an order meaning Lister does not have to disclose his address in open court. 

Suzanne Payne, defending Lister, said: “It is an exceptional request but these are exceptional times for police officers and the welfare of his family and child is of paramount importance.”

In passing the order, Mr Ikram said: “I make this exception from giving his address, with the heightened concern around offences of this type, especially when the alleged perpetrator is a serving police officer.”

Mr Ikram sent the case to Bradford Crown Court, with the next hearing due to take place at 9.30am on April 21. Lister was granted unconditional bail.