Belfast Telegraph

Child sex accused Nastasa denied bail amid concerns for alleged victim

By Staff Reporter

A judge has cut short a bail application for a Romanian man charged with a child sexual offence, after a solicitor described his client as being in "a relationship" with the girl.

Gherghit Gabriel Nastasa (26) of Thomas Street, Portadown is accused of being intentionally engaged in sexually touching a female child on July 2.

He appeared before Craigavon Magistrates Court, where bail was strongly opposed.

A defence solicitor told the court that an alternative residence had been found in Lurgan.

However, District Judge Bernie Kelly said: "There is no way this court can ensure the safety of the alleged injured party. It is much more difficult to protect in these instances."

A prosecutor stated: "Our concerns go well beyond a suitable address. The defendant has indicated a desire or intention to return to Romania.

"He only arrived in this jurisdiction in April and the offence is alleged to have occurred in July."

The defence lawyer was in the process of continuing the application, when he was abruptly halted by Judge Kelly.

She said: "Stop there. An adult and a child is not a relationship.

"I have serious concerns about this case. The defendant arrived here and within four months got himself a child."

The defence accepted the situation was "bizarre", but highlighted cultural differences.

Judge Kelly responded: "I cannot accept that. There is nothing legal or cultural about an adult sexually involved with a child. It is not permitted.

"I am concerned at the potential of arranging partners for children. The equally worrying issue is the usual practice to take the child out of the country for that."

Judge Kelly added: "The court cannot adequately protect this child, which is my chief concern. There are also risks of flight and potential witness interference.

"I have other concerns, but at present, these are the priorities."

Belfast Telegraph

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