Ballymena man is alleged to have communicated with a police officer 'posing as child' in an online chatroom

Ballymena man is alleged to have communicated with a police officer 'posing as child' in an online chatroom

A MAN accused of attempting to communicate with a person under the age of 16 'for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification' is alleged to have made contact with a police officer posing as a child in an online chatroom.

William Givens (28), with an address listed on the charge sheet as in Ballymena, is charged in relation to October 20-23 last year.

The defendant is on remand in prison, Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena (main picture), was told.

A defence barrister was seeking the defendant to be released on bail to an address outside Ballymena.

A police officer objected, saying they had concerns about the address.

The defence lawyer said the defendant had previously been granted bail on September 14 to an address to be approved by police

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the previous bail conditions included an address to be approved by police; no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18 apart from 'every day, inadvertent and unavoidable contact' and a ban on having any device capable of internet access, 'nor have any access to the internet whatsoever'.

The court heard the defendant had a previously clear record.

The police officer said the allegation against the defendant was that he attempted to communicate with a person under the age of 16.

The PSNI woman told the court: "It was a police officer actually in Yorkshire that he was communicating with".

She said the case involved "telephone downloads".

The officer told the court the defendant "made admissions" during a police interview when he said he said he "knew it was wrong and didn't know why he continued to do it".

The officer said the defendant had first been in court in the summer but had breached his bail twice, the first being when police were told in an "anonymous" phone call that he was using electronic devices.

Police found an Xbox console connected to the internet where he was "communicating with people online" and he also had possession of a 'smart' phone.

The officer said the accused had then been again granted bail but there was a second breach on September 9 when he had gone to another address and not that which he was supposed to staying at.

A defence barrister said the case allegedly involved "an agent provocateur, a police officer in England, who has obviously been in a chatroom posing as a child".

Judge Broderick said it was a "serious matter" and refused to vary the conditions of bail.

The case was further remanded in custody and the case adjourned to October 19.