Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of sexual activity with child claimed they were in 'steady' relationship, court hears

The bail application was adjourned.
The bail application was adjourned.

By Alan Erwin

A Londonderry man accused of sexual activity with a child allegedly spoke of them being in a "steady" relationship, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed Ciaran Bradley, 24, exchanged inappropriate photos and kissed the 15-year-old girl on three occasions.

Bradley, of Moss Park in the city, is charged with sexual touching and possessing an indecent image of her on dates between January 1 and March 29 this year.

Social services were alerted by someone concerned about the alleged relationship, a judge was told.

A Crown lawyer said: "They had been sending what she described as dirty pictures.

"Further information from other witnesses revealed (Bradley) had stated in a conversation that he and the child in question were 'steady'."

Counsel went on: "His view was that the cops can't do anything about that as they have no proof whatsoever."

Reference was also made to a latter where the accused allegedly said he did not care what the authorities thought about them being together.

During police interviews Bradley insisted that he believed the girl was 16.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty argued that the Crown was wrongly trying to portray his client as being "cunning, calculated and mendacious".

Mr Doherty instead submitted: "He's a man of extremely limited intellectual capacity."

He contended that there is no statement of complaint in a case involving allegations of kissing.

"This is not the type of case where a man is obtaining sexual gratification as a consequence of his involvement with this girl," the lawyer claimed.

Adjourning Bradley's application for bail, Mr Justice McAlinden requested an expert report to help address questions about any intellectual impairments and risk assessment.

He said: "Because of the concern I have about the risk to young, vulnerable females in the care system I could not possibly grant bail unless those issues were properly bottomed out."

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