Child sex accused denied travel to Far East at Magherafelt Court

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A south Derry man charged with sexually touching his granddaughter has been denied permission to travel to South East Asia.

The man, who cannot be identified to protect the identify of his alleged victim, stands accused of seven charges linked to sexual abuse of a child.

At Magherafelt Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday the defendant appeared in the hope of gaining a bail variation to relax his “signing and residence” conditions.

His solicitor told the court that his client “hopes to travel to the Far East” between dates in November and April where he wanted to engage in charity work with a named organisation.

A constable from the PSNI told the court that she would be objecting to any bail variation.

She stated that it was her belief that the defendant would fail to surrender as he has spent considerable time in Asia and may have access to funds there. She also stated that he has no contact with his family and lives alone.

The constable further said that she had received intelligence that he may be intending to emigrate to Asia in the near future and that he had handed in his notice at work.

She also said that it was her belief that the defendant would be likely to “commit other offences” and described how, in that part of the world, there was a “high risk of child sexual exploitation”.

Under questioning by the defence counsel, the constable confirmed that the defendant had a clear record and had never been subject to a complaint before those before the court.

He informed the court that his client was willing to lodge the deeds to his house or £20k with the court in an effort to allay their fears that he would not return.

“These flights were booked in advance of these charges,” he told the court. “It is a charity expedition.

“Now that he is retired he wishes to help those in need.”

Refusing to vary bail, District Judge Alan White said, “It is entirely inappropriate to allow someone (facing these charges) to leave the country for somewhere like Thailand.”

He then adjourned the case until November 18 for an update in the case.