Magherafelt Magistrates Court.
A thirty-year-old man accused of entering a house and climbing into bed with an unknown chid, before sexually assaulting her, has made a further unsuccessful attempt for bail.
During a video-link hearing at Magherafelt Magistrates Court it emerged the defendant’s sister is under investigation for intimidating the child’s parents by making a “cut-throat” gesture to them, days after his arrest.
Jamie Patrick Samuel Devlin from Old Rectory Park, Cookstown faces charges of trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offence and sexually touching the child, on December 27.
Bail was previously refused at High Court on 3 January but the defence mounted a fresh application contending Mr Justice O’Hara’s concerns were over a suitable address.
The court heard an alternative address was available but police remained opposed to bail and disputed residence was the reason why Devlin had not been released.
Outlining the background, a detective constable explained Devlin is alleged to have entered the house – the occupants of whom are unknown to him – through a downstairs window. The child and her siblings were in bed asleep and their parents were having a quiet night in. At some point the child woke when a male, not wearing trousers, climbed into bed beside her, put his finger to his lips gesturing for her to keep quiet, and began touching her.
The child pushed him off and fled to her mother.
On arrival police discovered Devlin – “naked from the waist down” being restrained on a sofa by the child’s father.
His trousers were found at the bottom of the stairs while his underwear was lying outside the child’s bedroom door.
Following arrest Devlin was arrested could give no explanation for the allegations, and had no recollection of the child, stating this is not something he would do and had no sexual interest in children.
The detective said, “Despite the different address, police still have concerns.
“Mr Justice O’Hara was extremely clear his decision was based on the risk to children.
“There was a complete inability to provide a satisfactory explanation, including why he was discovered in bed with a child.”
District Judge Oonagh Mullan remarked, “As I see it, nothing has changed.”
The detective added, “Police also have concerns for the parents of the child.
“It was reported on 31 December, the defendant’s sister approached them and made an intimidating gestures of slitting of throat.
“This person is currently under investigation for witness intimidation.”
Judge Mullan commented, “It should be relayed to her, such behaviour will not be tolerated. On enquiry if the child was known to Devlin, the defence replied, “Absolutely not.”
He continued, “The court should know, this is not just all as it seems.
“My client was highly, highly intoxicated and had suffered a very serious head-injury caused by blunt-force trauma.
“It is not clear if that was before or after the incident. It may have had relevance on why he cannot recall going into the house.
“The court has been told the child’s parents were having a quiet night. That may or may not be the case. There may well be other circumstances.”
Judge Mullan enquired if the police knew any head injury when Devlin was arrested, to which detective replied she had no evidence of this and Devlin not taken to hospital.
The defence insisted a doctor who assessed his client while custody noted a head injury, but the judge pointed out if this was the case police would have taken him for treatment Arguing for bail, the defence said, “My client works full time and his job will remain open, but only for a limited time.
“He is anxious to be released to return to employment. He has nothing previous for this type of offending.”
But throwing out the application Judge Mullan stated, “I refer to Justice O'Hara’s comments in which he noted risk to children. I am not satisfied around evidence of head injury .I feel there is a vagueness about this matter.”
Devlin will appear again by video-link next month.
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