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17 Aug 2022

Stradbally man charged with sexually exploiting child asks for matter to go to circuit court

exploitation

Stradbally man charged with sexually exploiting child asks for matter to go to circuit court

The barrister for a 56-year-old Stradbally man who allegedly propositioned a youth for sex, having previously allegedly offered him alcohol and cannabis, has challenged a DPP direction for the matter to be dealt with in the district court and requested that the case instead be treated as in indictable offence in the circuit court.

Liam Byrne of 1 Church Avenue, Stradbally, is charged with the sexual exploitation of a child, between June 29, 2017, and July 15, 2017.

When the case first came before Portlaoise District Court in March, the State said that the DPP had directed the case be dealt with by summary disposal in the district court.

Detective Garda Brian Kennedy gave evidence that it was alleged that the accused had befriended the injured party, who was 17 at the time, and offered him alcohol and cannabis.

They exchanged numbers and a number of calls were made, with the accused allegedly propositioning the injured party to meet up for sex.

An agreement was allegedly made for them to meet up, but the injured party travelled to the agreed location with a number of his friends and an altercation ensued, which resulted in the accused having to seek medical attention.

After hearing the outline of the alleged facts, Judge Catherine Staines accepted jurisdiction in the case.

However, when the case returned to court last Thursday, defence barrister for the accused said that in her opinion, this should be an indictable offence dealt with by the circuit court.

To this, Sgt Justine Reilly told the court that an amendment to the legislation allowed for the offence to be dealt with by summary disposal in the district court.

Sgt Reilly requested an adjournment to seek directions from the DPP.

The matter was adjourned to April 16 next, for DPP directions.

The accused was granted bail, with conditions that he sign on weekly at the garda station; he reside at his listed address and give the gardaí 48 hours’ notice of any change of address; he provide a telephone number to the gardaí; and he not approach three named individuals.

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