Probation Order | 

Co Fermanagh man pleads guilty to sexual activity with 15-year-old girl

Odhran McCabe (25) was introduced to the complainant’s family, one of whom asked “his age and intentions”

Stock photo© Photothek via Getty Images

Staff reporterBelfast Telegraph

A 25-year-old Fermanagh man who admitted having sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl has been been handed a Probation Order.

Odhran McCabe, from Drumshancorick Road, Rosslea pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child and a single count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in September 2020.

Dungannon Crown Court heard the complainant received a ‘friend’ request on Snapchat from McCabe and they later added each other to Facebook Messenger.

Contact went back-and-forth before the girl asked McCabe to meet up to assist her with someone she felt was bullying her.

They met in Enniskillen and walked for a while, during which McCabe kissed her several times.

She returned home but later that night, contacted McCabe and asked him to come to her house. He did so and was introduced to the complainant’s family, one of whom asked “his age and intentions” and apparently was content with what they were told.

McCabe went home and the next day the complainant invited him over again. Others were in the house during his visit but “in moments when they were alone, they kissed”.

After he left, they messaged each other and agreed to meet up near the Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen.

While there, they kissed and sexual touching occurred.

However the complainant’s relative later took her phone and on discovering the messages, alerted police.

McCabe was arrested and made no admissions but did accept not making any real effort to establish the child’s age.

While he was found fit to plead, a level of cognitive impairment was identified.

The court was told: “Although irrelevant to these proceedings, there was a degree of consent and the complainant declined to provide a Victim Impact Statement.”

Judge Brian Sherrard told McCabe: “The court is alert to the problems associated with underage sex with children, although I note there appears to have been no adverse effects in this instance.”

It was noted offending occurred over the course of two days and appeared to have been “something of an exception”.

He continued: “You have shown significant remorse and your plea of guilt at the earliest stage is tangible evidence of your acceptance.

"Nonetheless, your insights seem relatively limited and that is concerning to me. You are assessed as a medium risk of re-offending and therefore requiring a level of supervision.”

The judge said while the courts will always look to immediate custody in instances of child sexual activity, the term in McCabe’s case would be relatively short which would not serve to adequately address the issues associated with this offending.

Instead Judge Sherrard imposed a three-year Probation Order and made subject to sex-offender registration for five years. A Sexual Offences Prevention Order was also imposed to run for five years.

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