A man found guilty of sending sexual images to a 14-year-old girl he met at a band parade in Co Antrim was given a four-month jail sentence yesterday.
Dillan John Douglas (21), of Tardree Grove in Ballymena, was convinced at Coleraine Magistrates' Court, where he previously denied the charge.
He was found guilty of "intentionally communicating with a person under 16, the communication being sexual" on dates between April 1 and July 17, 2016.
The court found he had no grounds for reasonably believing that the girl was aged 16 or over.
At a previous hearing in February, District Judge Liam McNally said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Douglas was guilty.
The court was told that the girl, who is now 16, met the defendant at a band parade in Ballymoney when she was 13.
A number of months later, they made contact on Facebook and then Snapchat, after which Douglas sent the girl a picture of his genitals and a video of him performing a sex act, both of which she ignored because they "disgusted" her.
"He kept asking me to send him a photo in return," she explained.
"I told him no. I was 14 at that time. He pestered me every day, sometimes three or four times a day, asking for photos."
She admitted eventually sending a picture of herself in a bra in the hope that it would stop him hassling her.
Douglas's lawyer put it to the girl that she had "made the story up" to appease her mother after she found messages between the two on her phone - an allegation the girl denied.
Giving evidence, the girl's mother said she randomly checked her children's phones and "became alarmed" when she found texts from Douglas.
After he was arrested, police found no indecent images on any of the defendant's devices, but they did discover messages in which Douglas made "sexualised remarks".
Defence barrister Michael Smyth said that as well as no images being found on his client's devices, none were found on the girl's devices.
The barrister also stressed that Douglas, who declined to give evidence, still denied the offence and faced the "stigma" of having to sign the sex offenders' register.
Judge McNally said: "In order that a court can send out a deterrent to people of your age who groom young children, a custodial sentence will be imposed".
Douglas was given a four-month jail term but released on £500 bail pending appeal.