Belfast Telegraph

Sex offender approached child on bus, court is told

A schoolgirl was left
A schoolgirl was left "badly shaken and extremely distressed" after an encounter on a bus in Northern Ireland with a convicted sex offender, a court has heard

By Staff Reporter

A schoolgirl was left "badly shaken and extremely distressed" after an encounter on a bus in Northern Ireland with a convicted sex offender, a court has heard.

The disclosure was made as police objected to the release of Artur Symantus (35) from Cathedral Close, Clogher, who is charged with indecently assaulting the child on June 20.

He appeared in the dock of Dungannon Magistrates' Court, where a police officer confirmed he could connect Symantus to the charge.

The court heard an Ulsterbus inspector rang police to explain that an incident had occurred on a bus travelling from Enniskillen to Clogher, which was verified by an independent witness who came to the girl's aid.

Symantus, who boarded the bus in Enniskillen, is alleged to have been seated elsewhere, before moving beside the girl. He was said to have touched her leg and made "inappropriate remarks". The girl said he asked her several times if she had a boyfriend, then said he wanted to be her boyfriend.

The court heard a passenger saw the girl was uncomfortable and challenged Symantus, who responded: "You're lying, you're lying." He was told to leave her alone, and the passenger told the driver what had happened, then sat beside the girl for the remainder of the journey to Clogher, where the bus was met by police.

The court was told the child was "scared, frightened and crying" and her account of what occurred was captured on police body-worn cameras.

Symantus, who it is claimed was intoxicated, was taken from the bus and arrested, the court heard.

Objecting to bail, the police officer said: "It has since been confirmed the defendant is on the sex offender register in Poland, having served a prison sentence for sexual offending.

"We have concerns if released there is risk to young persons in the area."

He said there was also a potential risk of flight, and possible issues over providing police with an address.

A defence barrister said Symantus had been jailed for a year in Poland for sex offences.

"He also states there was no touching of the child, and any contact was entirely innocent as a result of the bus in motion."

Denying bail, District Judge Steven Keown said: "This was a very worrying incident."

Symantus was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on July 3.

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