Co Antrim boy (17) who admitted sex with 13-year-old girl is spared jail
A teenager from Co Antrim who pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl - despite claiming he was so drunk he could not remember the incident - has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.
The accused, who was 17 at the time of the incident in the summer of 2013, admitted having intercourse with the girl in a bedroom at his friend's house.
Despite the girl's assertion that the intercourse was consensual and his claim that he could not remember what happened, it emerged that police became involved after the girl's father saw text messages between the two on her mobile phone.
The defendant was yesterday handed a 12-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, and was also placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years, after appearing in the dock at Belfast Crown Court.
Crown prosecutor Kate McKay spoke of the age gap between the two as being just over three years, as he had just turned 17 and she was one month off her 14th birthday when they had sex.
Following the discovery of the text messages between the pair, the girl's father went to the boy's house to speak to his parents. The defendant, who is now aged 19, was arrested and during interview he claimed he couldn't remember the incident as he was "very drunk" and "blacked out".
The court heard that when the defendant became aware of the visit from the girl's father, he contacted him and apolgised.
Mrs McKay said that when questioned, the 14-year-old girl said she had "gone along" with what he wanted.
Defence barrister Mark Farrell branded the case as "peculiar" and said had it not been for the delay of bringing the case to court, it should have been dealt with in the Youth Court, given the ages of the boy and girl concerned."
Judge Stephen Fowler said: "At 13 she was just a child. No matter how mature she might think she was, she was just a child."
Praising the girl's father for the actions that he took, the judge added: "She, and girls like her, need to be protected."