Northern Ireland news

Man (36) jailed for touching and kissing young niece

A 36-year-old man has been jailed for inappropriately touching his niece and kissing her on the lips

A 36-year-old man who put his hand inside his young niece's pyjamas after kissing her on the lips was jailed today for six months.

Belfast recorder, Judge David McFarland, told the man while he had expressed remorse and shame, the case required a custodial sentence given the breach of trust involved.

The Crown Court judge said it was necessary "mainly as a deterent ... to any uncle who thinks that they can do this to their nieces, that a custodial sentence will flow from that conduct".

The Belfast man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his eight-year-old niece, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her three years ago in August 2016.

Prosecuting counsel David Russell said the man, who had been at a birthday party for the child's older sister, was clearly drunk, having consumed a considerable amount of vodka.

He added that while putting the youngster to bed, he kissed her on the lips and touched her briefly on the outside of her pants after opening her onesie pyjamas.

Defence QC Neil Connor said the man, who pleaded guilty, accepts kissing and touching his niece inappropriately for a matter of seconds.

Mr Connor said the man, who stopped drinking since the incident, had expressed remorse and disgust at his actions.

The man was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for seven years.

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