Banbridge man Andrew Williamson (24) had sex with girl aged 14, court told
A man from Co Down has appeared in court after allegedly having sex with a girl 10 years younger than him.
Andrew Williamson, from Ashgrove Avenue in Banbridge, is standing trial on eight charges linked to allegations that he conducted a sexual relationship with the girl when he was 24 and she was 14.
Williamson, who is now 28, has denied the girl's allegations and has claimed that they are false.
As the trial against him was opened at Belfast Crown Court the jury of six men and six women were asked by Crown prosecutor Philip Mateer QC to put side any personal feelings or prejudices they held regarding sexual crime.
He also urged the jury to try the accused only on the strength of the evidence to be presented to them throughout the course of the trial.
Mr Mateer told the jury it was the Crown's case that while the teenage girl consented to have sexual intercourse with the defendant, at the time she was a child and was therefore under-age.
Pointing out that "the law is the law", the prosecutor said that after the alleged relationship was discovered, Williamson was charged with eight offences including multiple counts of sexual activity by an adult with a child.
The jury heard it was the Crown's case that Williamson had sex with the girl in two houses in the Banbridge area as well as in his car over a period spanning from August 2011 to February 2013.
The girl claims that she first met Williamson shortly after she celebrated her 14th birthday, and that she agreed to have sex with him the second time they met.
Telling the jury that this was a case of "a man of 24 having sex with a girl of 14", Mr Mateer said Williamson was fully aware at the beginning of the alleged relationship that the girl was under-age.
The court heard that in May 2013 the girl was interviewed by police about the allegations the pair had sex.
Forensic tests were conducted at one of the houses where she claimed she had sex with Williamson, and her DNA was found on a mattress.
The defendant was arrested the same month, and told police the allegations made by the girl were false.
The case continues.