A Meath teenager who was convicted by a jury of defiling a 14-year-old girl has been ordered to undergo two years of supervision by the Probation Service.
The boy (17) who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged 15 when he began a relationship with the then 14-year-old victim during which sexual intercourse took place.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to two counts of defilement of a child under the age of 15 at a location in Co Meath on unknown dates between April 1, 2018 and January 31, 2019.
Following a trial in the Central Criminal Court which concluded last week, the boy was convicted of both counts of defilement by a jury.
The accused had also pleaded not guilty to one count of rape at a location in Co Meath on March 9, 2019. The jury failed to reach a verdict on this count.
A local detective garda told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that the accused was in a relationship with the victim from the summer of 2018 until it came to an end in January 2019.
The detective said that during the relationship, a number of occasions of sexual intercourse took place. The accused was aged 15 when the relationship began while the victim was aged 14.
She said they continued to be in contact after the end of the relationship as he had certain difficulties in his life and the victim continued to provide him some support. She said the victim felt under a “certain pressure” to remain friends with the accused.
The court heard that the victim did not wish to make a victim impact statement. The accused has no previous convictions.
The detective agreed with Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, that prior to the trial, a proposal was put to the DPP that his client would plead guilty to the defilement charges in circumstances in which they took place in a consensual relationship.
She agreed with counsel that this proposal was not acceptable to the DPP.
Mr Fitzgerald said his client's position is that the offences took place in a consensual relationship and that while he accepts now it was illegal, he did not know that at the time.
Counsel submitted that the moral culpability is at “a low level” in this case. He said that if both parties were aged 15 at the time then neither would have been committing an offence.
Justice Paul McDermott said an order of detention would in effect mean an immediate sentence of imprisonment in this case. He said he was not imposing detention as he did not think it was warranted in this case.
Justice McDermott said there were significant issues on the part of the accused in relation to an unwillingness to accept the end of the relationship and as to what is and is not permissible in a relationship.
He said there are “protective factors” which have been acknowledged by the Probation Service which means there is “unlikely” to be further offending.
Justice McDermott ordered that the boy undergo two years of supervision by the Probation Service.