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high court ruling Man wanted in the UK over the alleged rape and sexual exploitation of children gets bail

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A MAN wanted in the UK over the alleged rape and sexual exploitation of children has been granted bail by the High Court.

The man (60) was arrested in the west of the country on Tuesday night by members of the Garda Extradition Unit.

He is wanted by the Scottish authorities to stand trial on six counts relating to the sexual exploitation and rape of juveniles.

The charges are historical and the court previously heard that they relate to three individual complainants.

Yesterday morning the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, applied for bail in the High Court which was objected to by gardaí.

Det-Gda Robert Comerford, of the Garda Extradition Unit, argued that the respondent was a flight risk.

The court heard that the maximum sentence on conviction for the offences was life imprisonment.

The detective told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, for the Minister of Justice, that the man has been living in Ireland for nearly 20 years but has no definitive ties to this jurisdiction.

Garda inquiries established that the man has lived at different locations in the west of Ireland but has no steady employment or property.

He is currently residing in the Whitegate area of Co Clare, the court heard.

Det-Gda Comerford said that members of the Extradition Unit travelled to Clare on Monday to arrest the respondent, but he was not home.

The court heard that after being notified by his partner that gardaí were looking for him, the man went on a drinking binge and didn't return home.

The detective said that Garda intelligence indicated that the accused man was an alcoholic and said this may result in him not turning up in court if he "goes off the rails again".

He later agreed to meet gardaí by appointment on Wednesday but Det-Gda Comerford said an "operational decision" was made to arrest him on Tuesday night.

The court also heard that the man has 13 previous convictions in this jurisdiction for the harassment of ten women between 2014 and 2016.

He received a two-year suspended sentence on each count to run concurrently.

Mr Justice Paul Burns said that he could not refuse bail on the basis that the respondent may commit further offences and queried the relevance of his previous convictions.

Ms Ní Chúlacháin said the previous convictions resulted in him being placed on the sex offenders register which may have an impact on the likely sentence if he is convicted.

Evidence was also given that the man was reported as a missing person on four different occasions between 2003 and 2004.

Det-Gda Comerford told Mark Lynam BL, for the respondent, that he had not been able to verify the man's PPS number.

He agreed that the man had not yet been arrested or interviewed by Scottish police in relation to the allegations.

Mr Lynam said that the first his client had heard about the charges was the warrant and that he has not been in hiding while living here.

The court previously heard the man replied "absolute rubbish" when the summary of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was read to him after his arrest.

Mr Justice Burns said that the respondent enjoyed the presumption of innocence and that, other than facing a sentence up to life imprisonment if convicted, there was little to indicate that he represents a substantial flight risk.

He said it would be somewhat implausible that the man would use a yacht he owned to sail down the Shannon and out to the Atlantic in an attempt evade these charges.

Mr Justice Burns said he was granting the man bail under strict conditions.

He must reside at a property in the Whitegate area of Clare, observe a curfew, not apply for new travel documents, and ensure that he is contactable.

The man, who watched proceedings via video link, was remanded in custody with consent to bail and will reappear before the court in January.

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