A man accused of the sexual assault of an underage girl has been allowed to change his bail conditions to spend Christmas living close to his alleged victim.
The accused man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his alleged victim, lives in a remote part of Co Donegal.
He had been ordered to live in Letterkenny in recent months until his trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court and ordered not to live near the alleged victim or have any contact with her.
However, the man applied to have his bail conditions varied so he can visit and stay with his family from Christmas Eve until St Stephen’s Day.
Gardai told the court that they were objecting to the man’s application on a number of grounds.
A Garda Sgt said he had fears the man would try to contact the alleged victim if allowed to return home.
He also said there was an allegation that the accused man tried to contact his alleged young victim to ask her to persuade her mother to drop the case against him.
He is also alleged to have contacted his victim by Snapchat.
The Garda added “I would have a fear that he would contact her and put her under pressure that she would withdraw the allegations.”
Barrister for the accused Peter Nolan asked his client if he understood all the conditions of the bail and he said he did.
“You know the ramifications of breaching your bail?” asked Mr Nolan and the accused replied he did.
Mr Nolan added that it would be suicidal if the man was seen trying to contact the girl saying that everybody in the locality knew him.
Having considered the matter, Judge John Aylmer said he was “going to take a chance on him for a very short period of time.”
He said he hoped he had learned his lesson from the last time he breached his bail conditions.
He set down a number of conditions on which the man could return to his local area and spend the Christmas holidays.
They include that he refrain from socialising and not to have any contact with his alleged victim.
If he breaks any of these conditions he will be at risk of losing his bail, added Judge Aylmer.