PHONES and computers are being examined by investigators in the case of a County Antrim man believed to be the first person in Northern Ireland to be charged with ‘paying for sexual services of a person’.
Peter David Clyde (38), of Rocavan Meadow in Broughshane, is accused of committing the offence on January 18 this year.
The charge sheet describes the charge as ‘paying for sexual services of a person’ and the particulars are that the accused ‘obtained sexual services from a person in exchange for payment, the payment having been made or promised by you, contrary to Article 64A of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008’.
The defendant faces a second charge of ‘attempted sexual communication with a child’ on January 18 this year.
The specifics of that charge are that ‘being a person aged 18 years or over, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification intentionally attempted to communicate with a person under 16 years, the communication being sexual or intended to encourage the said person to make a communication that was sexual, and you did not reasonably believe that person was 16 years or over contrary to Article 3(1) of the Criminal Attempts and Conspiracy (Northern Ireland) 1983 and Article 22A of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.’
The case was first mentioned at Ballymena Magistrates Court in early November when the accused had a walking stick with him as he entered the dock.
On that date a police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.
A prosecution lawyer told that hearing it was possible the case could proceed to the Crown Court.
On November 8, District Judge Nigel Broderick released the defendant on £500 bail with conditions that he was not to have any contact with anyone under the age of 16 unless approved by social services apart from unavoidable daily contact; he had to reside at an address approved by police and he was not to access social media or ‘dating sites’.
The defendant had been excused from attending the latest mention of the case at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday December 6 because he was working.
A prosecution lawyer said they had requested a full file but it had not been received yet from police and was not due until mid-January.
She said phones and computers were being examined.
No other details were given to the court and the defendant has yet to enter either a guilty or not guilty plea.
Judge Broderick adjourned the case until the end of January.
Whilst there have been two previous prosecutions in Northern Ireland under legislation introduced in 2015, both involved attempting to pay for sexual services.
The current matter is understood to be the first in which a person has been charged with ‘paying for sexual services of a person’.