Northern Ireland news

Bail refused to man charged with sending sexually explicit messages to a 14-year old girl

The high court in Belfast

A judge has refused an application to grant bail to a 29-year old man accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a 14-year old girl who resides in a children's home.

The application to release Declan Brian Patrick McCann on bail was made at the High Court - but was refused by Mr Justice O'Hara who voiced "very serious concerns" about the allegations.

McCann, from Brook Lodge in Lisburn, is facing a charge of communicating with a child in a sexual manner between June 20 and 25, 2019, and is denying the offence.

Outlining the Crown case to the Judge, a prosecuting barrister said the alleged offending emerged on July 7, when a 14-year old girl told a key worker that a man she knew as Declan McCann had been contacting her on Facebook messenger.

The prosecutor said these messages contained a request to send him pictures of her in her underwear, and she was able to show these messages on her phone between her and someone using a Facebook profile in the name of Declan McCann.

The prosecutor also said that in the course of the text conversations, reference was made to a wooded area near the children's home which "suggests they have meet there a number of times" and had "taken intoxicating substances" together.

The Crown's case is that it is made clear in these messages that the girl is 14, while other texts refer to her deleting messages and not telling anyone anything.

The High Court heard that in June, the teenage girl requested a telephone number from McCann, that he supplied a number, and that phone has been linked to McCann after it was used to call the police on three separate occasions over unrelated domestic matters.

This has also been denied by McCann, who claimed he does not have a mobile or a Facebook profile. The Lisburn man has made the case that someone else must have set up a fake profile in his name.

Refusing the application, Mr Justice O'Hara said he believed there was a prima facie case against McCann.

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