A 29-year-old man who was intercepted by gardaí while allegedly on his way to a hotel to have sex with a boy last Monday, has been remanded in continuing custody with consent to bail.
The man gave an undertaking in court to abide by a number of strict bail conditions, including that, he notify gardaí 48 hours prior to moving address; give officers 12 hours’ notice of travelling within the State; specify the route of his journeys; and give gardaí his reasons for travelling.
He also gave an under- taking to surrender his passport and all telecommunications equipment, including mobile phones with internet access.
The man also agreed not to contact the alleged injured party, or have unsupervised access with any persons under the age of 18, including family members.
Judge Marian O’Leary remanded the man in custody with consent to bail on his own bond of €1,000, which does not have to be lodged in the court.
If the man is in a position to take up bail, he must lodge €2,500 of an independent surety of €5,000, the court ordered.
The man’s solicitor, Sarah Ryan, said her client was not in a position to take up bail, and that the man’s family had not yet been informed.
The man also agreed to abide by a daily curfew between 8am and 9pm; sign on daily at Roxboro Road Garda Station, Limerick; notify the Garda superintendent at Roxboro Road, or the member in charge at the station, of any intention to leave the jurisdiction.
The man also gave an undertaking not to purchase, use, or access any other electronic equipment, other than a mobile telephone number which cannot access the internet.
“We want to take all iPhones and telecommunications equipment from him, but we know that he must have telephone for his work,” Sergeant Donal Cronin, prosecuting, said.
The man also agreed to supply a contact number to gardaí within 24 hours of achieving bail; that he inform the gardaí of any social media platforms he has used in the past, and that he immediately cease accessing them.
Judge O’Leary described the offence as “very serious”.
The man broke down in court a number of times.
The accused was arrested at a location in the State at 9am last Tuesday, and charged before Limerick District Court last Wednesday night, with sexually exploiting a child, contrary to Section 3 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.
The offence is alleged to have happened on a date between January 3, 2015, and February 10, this year.
Garda Fiona O’Connell has alleged in court that the man befriended the boy on social media applications — Tinder and Snapchat — and sent the boy “provocative images and videos of himself masturbating”.
She also alleged gardaí found 56 naked images of the boy on a phone belonging to the accused.
Phones belonging to both the man and the boy are currently being scrutinised by garda forensic officers.
Garda O’Connell said it was her belief that the boy was “coerced” by the accused to send images to him.
Garda O’Connell said the man was “intercepted by gardaí” at a pre-planned garda checkpoint last Monday as he allegedly travelled to meet the boy for sex at a hotel at a location in the State.
She alleged the man also booked a hotel to have sex with the boy on February 13 last, but no meeting took place.
She said she believed the accused would “interfere and continue to contact the injured party through social media”, if granted bail.
The man has also given a sworn undertaking to allow gardaí monitor his phone.
The court has prohibited the media from reporting the identities of the parties involved, as well as any locations heard in evidence.
Further charges are expected to be brought against the man at a later date, gardaí told the court.
The man was remanded to appear before the court again on May 17.
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