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Crown Court date for man accused of having sex with 13-year-old girl he was ‘in love with’

Legal aid granted to man who previously said he believed he was in genuine relationship with the girl half his age

Craigavon Court

A man who claimed to be in love with a 13-year-old girl he is accused of having sex with will face Crown Court proceedings next month.

A district judge commented: “This is rape except we can’t call it rape because of the age of the injured party.”

Gheorghita Gabriel Nastasa, of Thomas Street, Portadown appeared charged with sexual activity involving penetration of a person under 16 at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The charge was read out as the 26-year-old consented to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.

Court heard that on July 2, it is alleged that Nastasa intentionally engaged in sexual touching, involving penetration, with a person under the age of 16.

Previously court heard that following his arrest in July, Nastasa admitted to having sexual intercourse with the youngster.

He confirmed knowing the injured party’s age but claimed that he didn’t realise it was a crime.

This arrest came about when the victim’s mother had contacted police after attending the hospital with her daughter on July 11.

It had previously been heard that Nastasa had claimed to be in love with this child and indicated he believed they were in a genuine relationship.

The prosecution stated on Friday that there was a prima facie case based on the papers and asked that the defendant was to be remanded in custody to be produced before Craigavon Crown Court on March 7.

After heard of an application for legal aid, District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “I will grant it, this is rape except we can’t call it rape because of the age of the injured party.”

Nastasa was remanded in Maghaberry to appear before Craigavon Crown Court on March 7.

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