Belfast Telegraph

No bail for convicted paedophile accused of contact with child

A convicted paedophile accused of causing a child to provide indecent images over the Snapchat messaging app has been denied bail
A convicted paedophile accused of causing a child to provide indecent images over the Snapchat messaging app has been denied bail

By Donal McMahon

A convicted paedophile accused of causing a child to provide indecent images over the Snapchat messaging app has been denied bail.

Andrew Williamson (32), of Old Beach Road in Banbridge, is charged with breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo) and sexual communication with a child.

He is also charged with causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity on May 17.

The defendant appeared at Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry courthouse, via videolink from Maghaberry prison, where he has been on remand since June.

Williamson was recently denied high court compassionate bail for "urgent dental treatment", with a dentist instead brought into prison to treat him.

A PSNI detective constable objected to the new bail application and outlined the background to the case.

The court heard a report has been made of a 14-year-old boy receiving messages and photographs on Snapchat from an address of 'Drew Andy 777'.

It was said that the boy had been asked to provide sexual images online.

"The police were able by using Snapchat maps to locate the sender of the messages and photos, and that was the defendant," said the officer.

"An officer, familiar with the defendant, then identified him from a photograph.

"The defendant is under a Sopo not to have contact with anyone under 18."

The court heard that when arrested, the accused told police: "I deny this."

When asked where his phone was, Williamson claimed he had "dropped it in the river". However, it was discovered during a search of his vehicle.

Prosecution stated that after a search of the defendant's home, two hard drives, three pen drives, an iPad and 14 DVDs were seized to be forensically examined.

Defence advanced the bail application on a change of circumstances - a long delay in the case.

The solicitor told the court that his client had initially been contacted on his Snapchat page by someone claiming to be a 22-year-old girl named "Sara".

"He had at no stage made the initiation, it was unbeknown to him that it was a 14-year-old boy," said defence.

"We were told that forensics would be done in September, now we have further delays," he added.

An issue over the availability of a password for the defendant's phone was clarified, with the accused being asked directly by police and refusing.

Defence stated that the matter should have been brought through to them in the first instance and that the password had been made available for some weeks, with the phone now unlocked by the PSNI.

"The outstanding forensics will now ultimately lead to further delays," he added.

Deputy District Judge Sean O'Hare acknowledged the delay, but said it wasn't enough to justify granting the bail application.

The case was adjourned to November.

Williamson was remanded into custody.

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