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Man faces trial over claims of exploiting girl

A MAN has denied sexually exploiting a 15-year-old girl after meeting her in Dublin city centre and "befriending" her.

A court has been told the accused (26) allegedly sent her an indecent picture of himself later and arranged to meet her at her home while her parents were out.

It is alleged that he touched her in her bedroom but she told him to stop and reported the "inappropriate relationship" to her mother.

He is facing trial by judge and jury on charges arising from his alleged contact with the girl.

The accused, with an address in Co Wicklow, is charged with sexually exploiting the girl at an address in west Dublin on dates between June 8 and 13 last year.

He is also charged with sending her an indecent message at the same address between those dates.

The first charge is under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act and the second is contrary to the Post Office Amendment Act.

At Blanchardstown District Court, Judge David McHugh was told the DPP had directed summary disposal of the case on a guilty plea only.

This means it can not be dealt with by a district court judge if the accused is contesting the charges. Defence Barrister Karl Monahan said the defendant was pleading not guilty.

The case will be sent for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when a book of evidence is ready. That court has greater potential sentencing powers on conviction.

ADJOURNED

Judge McHugh extended the time required for the preparation of the book and adjourned the case to a date in January.

He said reporting restrictions preventing the identification of the alleged victim applied.

The defendant, who was in court with his parents, did not speak during the brief hearing.

He was remanded on bail.

Previously, Garda Sharon Duncan told the court the accused made no reply when the charges were put to him.

She said the alleged victim's mother contacted the gardai on June 13 to express her concerns about an "inappropriate relationship" between her daughter and the accused, who was 25 at the time.

It was alleged that the defendant had befriended the girl in Dublin city centre and subsequently contacted her by phone and in person. He was aware of her age at this time, the prosecution maintained.

He allegedly sent a lewd image to the girl's phone and on another date, met her at a bus stop before accompanying to her house, knowing they would be alone.

It was alleged he went with her to her bedroom and while there, he touched "various parts of the injured party's body".

According to the gardai, she reported that she became uncomfortable and requested that he stop. He did so.

The judge previously made an order for disclosure of prosecution documents to the defence.

hnews@herald.ie


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