Married Co Down man (38) charged with paying teenage schoolgirl for sex
Paul Livingstone was arrested after staff at the Holiday Inn were concerned at a 38-year-old sharing a hotel room with a 16-year-old
A married Co Down man appeared in court on Thursday accused of paying a teenage schoolgirl for sex.
Ballymena Magistrates Court heard how Paul Livingstone was arrested after staff at the Holiday Inn Hotel were concerned at a 38-year-old sharing a hotel room with a 16-year-old girl.
Appearing at court by video link from police custody Livingstone, from Oakhill road in Dromore, was charged with paying a child for sexual services and abducting a child from care on 7 February this year and a further charge alleging abduction on 17 October last year.
As the accusations were read to him, Livingstone responded “nonsense” to the sexual services payment charge.
Det. Const. Welsh told the court he believed he could connect Livingstone to each of the charges and outlined how the defendant was arrested at his Co. Down home after hotel staff alerted cops.
“The defendant will say that he is in a relationship with his female but she is saying that he was paying her for sexual favours,” he told the court, adding that while there had been an initial allegation of rape, the complainant “has backtracked on that.”
While the teenager “is saying that he gave her money and e-cigarettes in return for sexual favours,” Livingstone told police during interviews that while he had sex with her “it was consensual” and while he gave her vapes and money for clothes, those had been given as gifts.
DC Welsh told the court the nature of the abduction charges was that the teenager was the subject of a care order so as such, “she was taken to a location without the knowledge of her primary care giver.”
Defence solicitor Conleth Downey argued however that in addition to “strenuously denying” the offences, Livingstone had told cops he had no idea she was under a care order.
“He has a clear record and is a married man,” said Mr Downey, conceding that having met through Snapchat, Livingstone met the girl away from his own area because “he had concerns that he was cheating.”
District Judge Nigel Broderick said despite the “serious allegations,” Livingstone had a clear record and is entitled to the presumption of innocence so “I’m minded to grant bail” but with conditions.
Freeing Livingstone on his own bail of £500, he ordered him to reside at his home address, to keep a curfew and be tagged, to report to police once a week, to have no contact with the complainant and the judge also made it a condition that Livingstone can have one mobile phone which has no internet connection.
Granting bail, he adjourned the case to March 14.
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