Man denies he had sexual relationship with girl (14)
A 28-year-old Co Down man has gone on trial accused of having underage sex with a schoolgirl 10 years his junior when she was first aged 14.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies a total of eight charges involving sexual activity by an adult with a child, including touching and intercourse, between August 2011 and February 2013.
The Crown Court jury of seven men and five women heard that the man and girl first began kissing one another after meeting up, which then progressed to full sexual intercourse in his home and car.
Prosecuting QC Philip Mateer told the Newry court sitting in Belfast that, essentially, it was one person's word against another, where the girl would tell of the relationship she had with the defendant, and what age she was at the time.
However, the accused maintained there was no sexual intercourse between them and, while he admitted knowing her and that she had been in his home, "there was no sexual relationship".
The jury also learned that when interviewed the man told police that "the allegations I have been accused of are false and I refute the allegations".
Mr Mateer added later that there was no suggestion of what occurred being anything other than consensual but, regardless, the law clearly stated such activities were both wrong and criminal. The jury was also told that the female portion of a mixed male/ female DNA sample taken from a mattress in the man's home matched that of the teenager.
The girl, now 18, in a video-taped police interview played to the court said she first got to know the man through an older friend living with him, and she thought the man was "a good friend and could trust him".
The teenager said initially the man had her number and began texting and calling her. He would ask her if she "wanted to meet up or anything... this went on for a couple of days".
She said that one evening, when they were watching television, "kissing started... there was no sexual intercourse".
The court listened as the girl told police that they started to meet up about three days during the week, and that they then had sex.
Sex also allegedly took place in his car while on drives into the countryside. The teenager said when she ended the alleged affair he had text back "OK".
The case continues today.