A 24 years old local man is to go on trial at Derry Crown Court charged with sexual communication with a female child for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.

At his arraignment this morning, Shaun Patrick James McEleney, from Abercorn Road, denied committing the offence on 22 September 2017.

He also replied not guilty to meeting with the child following sexual grooming and not guilty to engaging in sexual activity with her which involved penetration. These offences are alleged to have occurred on 23 September 2017.

A barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told Judge Philip Babington that the case included six hours of recorded police interviews and that the trial would last four to five days.

A defence barrister said the main defence issue in the case was in relation to whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the girl was over the age of sixteen.

A trial date of 1 April was fixed and the defendant was released on continuing bail until then.

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