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‘Entrapment’ concerns as Armagh man accused of attempted sexual communication with child

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man accused of attempted sexual communication with a child and encouraging the making of indecent photographs will be trialled at the Magistrates’ Court.

This comes after a number of judges raised the issue with the venue in which cases such as this should be heard.

Richard Brooks Porter, of Edenaveys Crescent, appeared charged with attempted sexual communication with a child, encouraging or assisting the making of an indecent photograph of a child and encouraging or assisting the distribution of an indecent photograph of a child.

Court previously heard that the 44-year-old had allegedly been in contact with police who were “acting as young people online”.

On Monday, at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, Deputy District Judge Brian Archer stated: “My concern is that because of the seriousness of this case this court does not have the sentencing powers available to it.

“This is a view that was mirrored by my colleague, District Judge Rosemary Watters.”

Prosecuting barrister Malcolm Irvine said: “The directing office has taken those comments under advisement, but after speaking to senior members of the prosecution service, has decided to continue in this court.

“This was with the view that like cases should be repeated alike, all similar cases have been dealt with in the Magistrates.”

Judge Archer commented that this was “not necessarily the case”.

Mr Irvine stated: “No, that is not the case but in those situations, there were aggravating features, all similar cases have been dealt with in the Magistrates’.

“This is when the offender has no similar offence on their record.”

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon commented: “We have residual concerns in terms of entrapment.”

Judge Archer stated: “I don’t have the power to transfer this to a higher court by a simple refusal.”

After being passed momentarily, defence solicitor Jarlath Fields informed the court that the matters were to be contested.

Judge Archer stated: “I hope he has been advised that if convicted after contes, how he will be viewed.

“I have disqualified myself from this case as I have already read the transcripts.”

The case was adjourned until July 30 when a contest date will be fixed.

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