A Lithuanian man living in Stewartstown has been ordered to stand trial accused of forcing a child into prostitution and a string of other sex crimes.
Standing in the dock of Dungannon Magistrates Court alongside an interpreter, 51-year-old Dariusz Lech was charged with a total of 31 offences, 30 relating to one complainant and a single count against a second girl, alleged to have occurred on various dates between 1 September 2009 and 18 March last year.
Lech, originally from Lithuania but now with an address on the Killycolpy Road, Stewartstown in Dungannon, confirmed that he was aware of the charges which include multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, engaging in sexual acts in the presence of a child, inciting a child to engage and watch sexual acts and single charges of indecent assault and causing or inciting a child into prostitution.
Appearing in a blue jumper and grey tracksuit bottoms, bespectacled Lech told the court he had received papers relating to the preliminary enquiry committal hearing.
Although no facts relating to the allegations were opened in court, a prosecuting lawyer submitted that Lech has a case to answer “based on legal papers before the court,” a submission which defence barrister Craig Patton took no issue with.
That being the case, District Judge John Meehan said he was satisfied there was a Prima Facie case and returned the case to the Crown Court for trial.
Lech was told that while not obliged to, he had the right to comment on the charges or call witnesses to give evidence but he chose to remain silent.
Remanding Lech back into custody, Judge Meehan granted legal aid and ordered him to appear in Dungannon Crown Court on 1 March for his arraignment.