Ballymena Court hears man originally from Bulgaria is to contest charge that he 'intentionally incited a child to engage in sexual activity'

Ballymena Court hears man originally from Bulgaria is to contest charge that he 'intentionally incited a child to engage in sexual activity'

A MAN originally from Bulgaria and formerly with an address in the Clonavon area of Ballymena who has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he 'intentionally incited a child' to engage in sexual activity is set to contest the charge in February.

The charge faced by 53-year-old Asen Demirev, is that on August 25 last year 'being over 18 years of age, intentionally incited a child between 13 and 16 years, to engage in a sexual activity and you did not reasonably believe that she was 16 years or over.'

Recently, Ballymena Magistrates Court (main picture) heard Demirev now lives in a different part of Northern Ireland.

That court was told an alleged incident had led to “high community tensions” in Ballymena.

At the previous hearing a police officer had expressed concerns about the accused returning to the Clonavon area if bailed.

She had said: “There is a mixed community of foreign nationals and local people”.

As a result of the allegation there was “almost public disorder,” the court was told.

The PSNI officer had told the August court there were “high community tensions at the minute and police have actually got a dedicated crew to the area to try and alleviate any further incidents and they have been in contact with the Inter-Ethnic Forum to try and resolve matters but at this time they would have concerns if the defendant returned to that home address”.

A defence solicitor had told the August court it seemed the only objection to bail was the “potential risk to his own safety”.

The lawyer had said the defendant had an entirely clear record apart from two motoring matters.

She said the defendant had been living in Northern Ireland for almost five years and was in full-time employment.

At the court in the summer, she had said it was “not appropriate” for her client to kept in custody “purely due to concerns regarding potential tensions in the community”.

In August, District Judge Peter Magill said he had read an alleged injured party’s statement “and the allegation is she took what he did as an incitement, that it went no further than that, so in the circumstances I don’t feel I can deny the man bail which is what I would be doing if I asked him to go to a different address”.

The judge had said he was releasing the defendant on his own bail of £500 with no contact with the alleged injured party or potential witnesses along with an alcohol ban.

The judge had added in August: “As ever, I’m afraid, the police have to ensure, in accordance with their duty, the law is not broken and that citizens, even those on bail, are protected, like all of us”.

At a later court hearing in Ballymena the defence lawyer said the defendant "had to move address" when granted bail.

She had said "there was a problem in so far as he was then evicted from his local property" and he is "now living not locally".

She had said the bail address was changed to "the one we have now".

The case was then adjourned on a number of occasions and was mentioned again this week.