Two-year sentence for Dublin man who had sex with girl (14)

Two-year sentence for Dublin man who had sex with girl (14)

A man who had sex with a 14-year-old has been jailed for two years for defilement.

The Dublin man (23), who cannot be identified to protect the victim's anonymity, had pleaded not guilty to defilement of a child under the age of 17 at a location in Dublin on April 8, 2015.

A jury convicted him last month after a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The man had also pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one of sexual exploitation of a child. The jury acquitted him of the sexual assault charges and failed to reach a verdict in the sexual exploitation charge.

Yesterday Judge Patricia Ryan said there was “a great disparity in age” between the two persons.

“He knew she was 15 on his own evidence,” she said. She also noted that the accused knew the victim was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

She backdated a two-year prison sentence to December 2016 and ordered that he go on the sex offenders register for the next 10 years.

The accused admitted to gardaí that he had sex with the girl but claimed it was consensual. A child under the age of 17 is legally unable to give consent regarding sexual matters.

The jury heard that he had been in contact with her on Facebook for several months before they met.

The court heard that on the day of the offence the man met up with the victim and a number of other young people and had been drinking on the beach.

He believed the teenage girl was 15 years old at the time as she had indicated this to him during an exchange of messages on Facebook.

The man has three previous convictions for minor offences.