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Man’s relationship with child was ‘relatively new’, court hears

A man charged with involving himself in sexual activity with a child has been denied bail at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning.

The judge refused to release him back into the public, citing her inability to police “inter-community” relationships.

The 26-year-old Romanian national, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared via videolink charged with sexual activity with a child under the age of 16.

It was heard the proposed bail address put forward by defence solicitor John McAtamney was in Lurgan and the injured party lived in Portadown.

Court heard the alleged child victim was from the Romanian community, as was the defendant.

Prosecution stated the 26-year-old had told police of his desire and intent to return to Romania.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented it was “hard to police someone from a similar community”.

Mr McAtamney stated his client had said that this had been “a relatively new relationship”.

Judge Kelly retorted: “An adult male cannot have a relationship with a child, it is outside our cultural norms, more than that it, is outside our laws.”

She added: “I can’t accept that this will continue, and I have had numerous cases of a sexual nature with Romanians who have fled this jurisdiction”.

Court heard that the defendant arrived in Northern Ireland on April 6 of this year.

Judge Kelly stated: “Within three months this man has managed to get himself a child”.

Bail was denied to the defendant with Judge Kelly saying she had “a variety of reasons” not to grant it.

She said these were “because it was inter-community which meant policing of protection of this child would be very hard; I am concerned with the risk of flight and I am not satisfied he is settled in Northern Ireland”.

Judge Kelly summed saying she was rejecting bail because “of the risk of further offences, the risk of flight and I can’t adequately protect the injured party”.

The case was adjourned until September 7 as the prosecution await a full file.

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