A judge has refused bail to a 34-year-old Co Clare man accused of defiling a teenager after gardaí said the man searched online for countries that you cannot be extradited from.
At Ennis District Court, the man — who cannot be named for legal reasons — appeared after being charged with having sexual intercourse with the girl, then aged under 17, between September and the end of December in 2013.
In evidence, Detective Garda Donal Corkery told the court that a Garda examination of the man’s mobile phone showed that, in January and February of this year, the man conducted online searches for countries which people cannot be extradited from to Ireland.
The detective said that, as a result, gardaí considered the accused a flight risk and have concerns that he will not turn up for trial.
However, defence solicitor Michael Ryan pointed out to the court that the man does not have a passport.
He said that his client “is very much a home bird and lives with his parents”.
Mr Ryan said that, since those online searches from January and February, his client has remained in Ireland “and is still here and hasn’t left the country”.
The solicitor also stated that his client is three months into a three-year stint of work and “commencing this work is rather odd if he was going to leave the country”.
He remarked: “If everyone was arrested for googling things on the internet the prisons would be full.”
In response, Det Corkery said: “The searches were specific to leaving the country, which was my concern.”
Det Corkery said gardaí launched an investigation into the case after the alleged victim’s father made a formal complaint to gardaí in January of this year. Det Corkery said that the strength of the evidence against the accused formed part of the State’s grounds for objection to bail.
The detective said the alleged victim— now aged 18 — gave birth to a baby in 2014 when she was 16 and DNA tests following samples taken from the accused and the baby show the accused is the baby’s father.
Det Corkery said that, on conviction, a person found guilty of defilement can be jailed for up to five years.
Mr Ryan said it will be his client’s contention that he had a relationship with the girl in question.
After hearing an outline of the garda objection, Judge Patrick Durcan said he would refuse bail and remanded the accused in custody to next Wednesday.
Insp John O’Sullivan said that the Director of Public Prosecution has recommended that the case go forward on indictment.
This will require the State to draw up a Book of Evidence and the case is likely to be heard before Ennis Circuit Court later this year or else in 2016.
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