12 charges | 

Face of swim coach charged with sexually exploiting three girls at Dublin pool

He is charged with sexual exploitation of three girls, along with seven counts of producing child pornography at a swimming pool.

Matthew Coward

Andrew PhelanSunday World

A swimming coach has appeared in court charged with sexually exploiting girls and producing child pornography at a Dublin pool.

Matthew Coward (31) was granted bail and the case against him was adjourned at Dublin District Court, for the preparation of a book of evidence.

Under bail terms, he is to stay away from the pool and refrain from coaching.

Mr Coward, with an address at Shantalla Drive, Santry, Dublin is charged with 12 offences under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.

He is charged with sexual exploitation of three girls, along with seven counts of producing child pornography at a swimming pool.

He is also charged with two counts of possession of child pornography at another location.

The offences are alleged to have happened on dates between September last year and February this year.

Garda Sergeant Shane Behan told Judge Joanne Carroll he arrested the accused at his home at 6.55am this morning and brought him to Finglas garda station.

Mr Coward made no reply to the charges after caution and was handed copies of the charge sheets, Sgt Behan said.

The garda had no objection to bail subject to conditions.

Judge Carroll granted bail in Mr Coward’s own bond of €200, with no cash required. Under conditions, he must stay at his home address, sign on twice weekly at Santry garda station, surrender his passport and not apply for a new one or any other travel documents.

He is also to remain contactable at all times at a phone number provided to the gardai.

Mr Coward is to stay away from the swimming pool named in the charges and have no contact directly or indirectly with any witnesses. He is to refrain from engaging in any coaching roles.

Sgt Behan said the accused had already handed over his passport and provided a phone number.

The DPP directed trial on indictment, he said, and a book of evidence was required before the accused could be sent forward for trial to the circuit court.

Judge Carroll remanded Mr Coward on bail to appear in Blanchardstown District Court on September 13.

She granted free legal aid following a submission by defence solicitor Damien Coffey, who submitted a statement of his client’s financial means.

“He qualifies from a financial point of view,” the judge said.

Mr Coward, dressed in a light blue shirt, grey trousers and brown shoes, indicated to the judge that he understood the bail terms.

He has not yet entered pleas to any of the charges.

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