A book of evidence was served on a 44-year-old man charged with obtaining a 15-year-old boy for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Cork. Sergeant Gearóid Davis confirmed service of the book of evidence on Garfield Ebbs at Cork District Court on a total of 20 charges.
Ebbs appeared in court carrying an umbrella and with a large black hoodie, grey pants and shoes.
He also wore a large white face mask completely covering his nose, mouth and chin.
His hood was up at all times and drawn tightly around his face and he wore black leather gloves.
Sgt. Davis applied for technical amendments to several charges.
Defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said there was no defence objection to those amendments being made.
After a brief adjournment, Sgt. Davis confirmed the book of evidence had been served on Garfield Ebbs with an address at Fairfield Green, Farranree, Cork.
Judge Olann Kelleher then acceded to a prosecution application to send the case forward from the district court to the next sessions of Cork Circuit Criminal Court commencing on June 15.
The defendant was remanded on bail with no conditions attached.
Mr Buttimer said he was not applying for free legal aid in the case.
Judge Kelleher gave the accused the normal alibi warning whereby a defendant must notify the prosecution within 14 days of any witnesses that might be called in the context of an alibi defence.
Originally, Detective Garda Craig Peterson of the Protective Services Unit at Anglesea Street Garda Station charged Ebbs with a total of 22 counts.
20 of the charges refer to allegations that he engaged in sexual activity with a teenage boy, sexually exploited the boy, obtained the boy for sexual exploitation and met him for sexual exploitation. The 20 charges consist of four sets of offences, each with five similar counts, relating to a period from September 2018 to May 2019.
No details were given in relation to the alleged offences in court.
Sergeant John Kelleher said that gardaí had received directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions that the matter should be tried on indictment before a judge and jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer asked when a book of evidence would be ready in the case and Sgt Kelleher applied for a four week adjournment to allow for preparation and service of the book of evidence against the defendant.
Judge Olann Kelleher granted the application and remanded the defendant on bail to appear again on May 29 for service of the book of evidence. The judge made an order prohibiting the publication of any details that would identify the injured party.
Garfield Ebbs was also charged with two counts relating to a woman in her late twenties where it is alleged he paid for sexual activity with a prostitute on November 25 2019 and January 7 this year.
Sgt. Davis said those two charges were summary offences, suitable to be dealt with at the district court, so they did not form part of the book of evidence. Those two charges were adjourned for mention at Cork District Court on September 8.
Detective Garda Peterson testified that when he arrested Ebbs at 4.30pm April 27 for the purpose of charging him with the 22 counts, the defendant made no reply to any of the charges when they were put to him after caution.
The charges in the book of evidence consist of five counts that Ebbs engaged in sexual activity with a child under the age of 17, five charges that Ebbs engaged in sexual exploitation, five charges alleged that he obtained a child under 17 for the purpose of sexual exploitation and finally, five charges that he met a child under 17 for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
All of the charges are brought under sections of the Criminal Law (Sex Offences) Act 2017 except for the sexual exploitation charges which are brought, contrary to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.