High Court bail narrowly granted to rape accused

High Court bail narrowly granted to rape accused

A RAPE suspect accused of grooming two teenage girls for sex was banned from any unauthorised contact with children.

The High Court in Belfast made the banning order after granting bail to Andrew Trevor Williamson as part of a series of conditions.

A judge also ordered the Co Down man not to use the internet after hearing claims that he used a social networking service to make contact.

Williamson, 25, of Dromore Street, Banbridge, denies seven charges including rape, meeting a child following sexual grooming, sexual activity with a child, and trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

The alleged offences were committed against girls aged 13 and 15 at locations in Co Down between June 2012 and January 2013.

The younger of them claimed Williamson forced himself on her after she was taken to different houses and plied with alcopops.

Prosecutors said it was alleged that he spent a month chatting with the teenager through the Blackberry BBM mobile messaging service before suggesting a meeting.

Williamson offered her £15 to help pay for a friend’s birthday present on condition that she did something in return for him, according to the girl’s account.

The court heard the girl was taken to a garage where the first sexual contact took place.

She also showed police two houses in Banbridge where she claimed to have been raped.

He allegedly brought bottles of WKD and Buckfast tonic wine for her to drink with him.

The second alleged victim, who was aged 15 at the time, said she had consensual sex with Williamson for months after they were introduced last summer.

She claimed they met twice a week either at his home or in his car.

Defence counsel stressed that Williamson categorically denies the charges against him.

Williamson accepted corresponding with the younger girl through BBM but claimed there was never any sexual contact, the court heard.

Ruling today on his bail application, Mr Justice Maguire acknowledged the potential risk of any further offences.

But he decided that a package of conditions could be imposed to deal with prosecution concerns.

The judge ordered that a £5,000 cash surety must be lodged and imposed an alcohol ban.

He directed that Williamson must be curfewed, electronically tagged and is to have no contact with either alleged victim.

The accused cannot use a mobile phone, computer or any device linked to the internet or social networking sites.

Mr Justice Maguire also banned him from contacting anyone under 16 or being in a relationship with any woman who has a child below that age, unless prior consent has been given by a police officer.

He added: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I have given great attention to this application. He has only very narrowly obtained bail.

“What has made bail possible in his case are a series of stringent conditions.”



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