Belfast Telegraph

Child sex abuse accused is bailed 'reluctantly' despite PSNI objection

A Co Tyrone man facing multiple charges of sexual offences against a female child has been granted bail despite police objections
A Co Tyrone man facing multiple charges of sexual offences against a female child has been granted bail despite police objections

By Staff Reporter

A Co Tyrone man facing multiple charges of sexual offences against a female child has been granted bail despite police objections.

A hearing at Enniskillen Magistrates Court heard there have been some "partial" admissions in the case.

The defendant, aged in his 50s, cannot be named to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

He is alleged to have committed the offences over the course of two weeks.

These involve four counts of sexual touching, four of more serious sexual assaults, and a single charge of exposure.

A police officer confirmed the offences, which allegedly occurred between June 26 and July 4, could be connected.

Opposing bail, she expressed concerns over interference in the case, as the child's parents and family are witnesses.

An attempt has already been made by the defendant who asked the victim's mother "not to tell the doctor what happened as that would mean police involvement", the court heard.

Potential reoffending was also a factor with the officer contending: "This all relates to a two-week period. On one occasion (the defendant) let himself into the victim's home, went to her bedroom and sexually assaulted her."

In addition, the officer said the defendant left the jurisdiction at the time police were seeking to interview him.

Under defence cross-examination the officer confirmed there is no previous record.

Asked if the address of a friend, some seven miles from the scene of the alleged offending, would be suitable, the officer replied: "I believe it is still too close."

She highlighted that the friend had not yet confirmed if they are willing to have the defendant at their home and it is unclear if they are aware of the charges.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall remarked: "It does seem to be equivocal."

The defence then turned to the reporting of the alleged abuse, pointing to some delay. The court was told the child made a disclosure to her parents, who contacted Social Services, who in turn alerted police, with the officer advising that the July holidays may have impacted on timings.

The defence enquired: "With some admissions made… would that assuage your concerns for bail, given the case is part proven?" She replied: "He partially admitted offences, but not all. Police concerns remain."

In relation to leaving the jurisdiction, the defence explained his client had an overnight break, in a Sligo hotel, "ignorant of any police investigation".

Urging bail to be granted, the defence claimed the child's parents confronted the defendant, who admitted some offences, "but then there was a gap before police came to his door... he co-operated fully and made some admissions".

Judge Marshall ruled: "It is not without some considerable degree of reluctance, I am willing to release the defendant. I sternly warn, any breach will mean a remand in custody.

"There must be no interference whatsoever with the victim - and she is a victim as some charges are accepted. If he goes anywhere near her or her family, he goes to prison."

Bail was set at £500, with a £500 surety to be provided by the friend with whom the defendant seeks to reside, should they agree to allow him to do so.

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