If a violent Ennis teenager is released from custody, he will attempt to physically harm the girl he defiled, a garda has told a court.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Sgt John Casey said he has “grave concerns” that the 19-year-old male “poses a personal risk to the safety of the injured party”.
The teenager has pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual intercourse with the girl on three separate occasions.
The accused has admitted having sex with the girl on three dates between December 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015, contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.
The victim was aged 14 when sexually abused by the male and is aged 17 today.
Sgt Casey said that a statement made by the girl to gardaí alleges that the teenage boy — then aged 16 to 17 — threatened that he would harm her mother if the girl did not engage in sexual activity with him.
Sgt Casey said the accused — who has 16 previous convictions — disputes that he made this threat.
Counsel for the accused, Padraig Dwyer SC said his client contends it “was a consensual affair and that she was a willing participant”.
Sgt Casey described the accused as “a person of a violent disposition”.
Judge Gerald Keys has adjourned sentencing to allow the victim to make a victim impact statement. Gardaí were opposing bail for the accused on a number of grounds.
Sgt Casey said “I believe that the accused will attempt to physically harm the injured party in advance of him receiving a sentence” if he was granted bail.
Sgt Casey added that he “has serious concerns if the accused is admitted to bail that he will attempt to intimidate the injured party into withdrawing her statement”.
Sgt Casey confirmed that 12 of the accused’s previous convictions were committed while he was on bail.
He said there are no conditions that could be imposed on bail for the accused that would allay garda concerns. Sgt Casey said two of the accused’s 16 previous convictions relate to assault, one for aggravated burglary, and four previous convictions for public order offences.
Sgt Casey said that when the accused was previously on bail for a prior offence, gardaí could not locate him between September 27 and October 27, 2015.
“He could not be located and, despite being just 17 at the time, he had the ability to survive without any apparent means and remain under the garda radar,” said Sgt Casey. “I don’t believe he will remain in the locality to deal with the charges before the court.”
The boy’s father was in court for the bail hearing and Judge Keys said that the offences before the court are very serious and generally attract a custodial sentence.
On behalf of the accused, Lorcan Connolly BL said that one factor in this case is that the accused and victim are close in age to each other.
Refusing bail, Judge Keys said the accused has breached bail conditions in the past and is frequently before the courts.
The accused is currently serving a sentence and his release date is in mid-December. However, Judge Keys remanded the teenager in custody to December 18 for sentence.
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