Saturday 1 October 2016

Man accused of exploiting teenage boy via Facebook

Andrew Phelan

Published 12/04/2016 | 06:45

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A MAN accused of sexually exploiting a boy by inviting him to take part in an “obscene” act via Facebook has been given more time to prepare his defence.

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The accused (42) allegedly sent several indecent messages to the 16-year-old’s phone via the social network in the space of one day.

The case against him was adjourned at Blanchardstown District Court.

Defence solicitor John O’Doherty told Judge David McHugh that prosecution statements had been provided, but he had not had time to go through them all. Judge McHugh adjourned the case to a date later this month.

The accused is charged with sexually exploiting a child at his home last June 19 by inviting him to engage in a sexual, indecent or obscene act.

The court heard that the messages were allegedly sent between 2am and 3.30am on that day.

“They are very explicit in nature,” the prosecuting garda said of the texts, which were

examined by Judge McHugh but not read out aloud to the court.

“I have read them,” the judge said, and accepted jurisdiction to deal with the case.

This means it can be heard at district court level instead of being sent for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, which has greater potential sentencing powers on conviction.

Judge McHugh previously granted free legal aid to the defendant.

The man, who has an address in the west of the city, is not working, the court heard.

Gardai had no objection to legal aid being granted.

The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charge.

Liberty

Originally, a different charge had been brought against the man. This had alleged that he restricted the personal liberty of a named child for the purpose of sexually exploiting that child.

However, that charge was withdrawn by the prosecution and the new one was brought. The accused was remanded on continuing bail until the next court date.

He has appeared before the court several times and has not spoken during any of the brief hearings. On his next appearance he will be expected to indicate how he intends to plead to the charge.

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