Court deadline met: Man accused of breaching Sexual Offences Prevention Order by contacting girl (13) on social media has case sent to Crown Court

Ballymena Courthouse6
Ballymena Courthouse

A man accused of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order by allegedly having contact on social media with a 13-year-old girl ‘with a view to establishing a relationship or meeting,’ has appeared in court in handcuffs and had his case sent to Antrim Crown Court.

Richard David McCrea (39), whose address was given as Kent Avenue in Larne, is accused of committing the offence in March this year.

He is also charged with harassment of a female on dates between December last year and April this year.

And he faces a third charge of failing to notify police of a change of his name within three days in contravention of the Sexual Offences Act.

During a Preliminary Enquiry – the legal step to send a case to the Crown Court – a prosecutor submitted that on the basis of the papers before Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday there was a case to answer.

A defence lawyer had no contrary submissions.

McCrea confirmed he was aware of the charges against him and didn’t reply when asked if he wished to say anything in relation to the charges.

The prosecutor said her application was for the defendant to be further remanded in custody to appear at Antrim Crown Court in mid-November.

District Judge Nigel Broderick granted that and also a defence application for a defence certificate for one counsel at the Crown Court.

Recently, when a previous deadline in the case was not met, Judge Broderick had warned any further delays meant he could throw out the case if it did not proceed on October 25.

That was after a defence lawyer said McCrea has been in custody on remand since May and they had concerns about the speed of progress in the matter.

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