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Extradited man remanded in custody accused of sexually abusing child

A seventy-one-year-old man extradited under a European Arrest Warrant has appeared in court in relation to alleged child sexual offending.

Jan Pokarz, whose address was simply given as Poland, is charged with two counts of sexually assaulting a female child on dates between June 2015 and September 2016.

A detective constable told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court she executed the warrant which was originally issued in February 2021.

Opposing bail, the detective explained a decision had been taken to prosecute however Pokarz was never interviewed as he returned to Poland before this could be done.

“It is my understanding the defendant was in Poland when he found out about the allegations,” she said. “He had denied them and during a conversation it is claimed he said he would not be going to jail. He never returned from Poland and police consider him to be a flight risk. We do not have and cannot locate his passport at this time.”

A defence barrister set out how Pokarz “resided in Northern Ireland for just under a year in and around 2016. He was aware of the allegations against him but understood they had been withdrawn so returned to Poland”.

It emerged he was arrested there last month and held in custody but allegedly made it clear he wished to be brought back to Northern Ireland in order to have the matters addressed.

The defence conceded: “That is something of a double-edged sword and the court may think he went to Poland because of the allegations, however, it was always his intention to return.”

He advised the defendant’s partner has also travelled to Northern Ireland and is in possession of his passport which she was ready to surrender to police.

Pokarz had travelled on an identity card when being brought to Northern Ireland which has been retained by police.

The defence stressed: “Any address for release for bail would have to be approved by police but applying for accommodation is very difficult while in custody.”

Meanwhile, a prosecuting lawyer confirmed the case is ready to be fixed for a committal hearing to transfer to crown court for trial.

After consideration, District Judge Michael Ranaghan ruled: “Arrest Warrants were necessary to get this matter progressed. The alleged charges are extremely serious involving sexual offences against a child aged under 13. I find there is a risk of flight and on that basis I am refusing bail.”

Pokarz was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on November 22.

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