A MAN is to plead guilty to breaches of a barring order in a case in which a court heard he posted on Twitter about having sexual relations with one of his children.
The man, who cannot be named, appeared before Clonakilty District Court relating to two alleged breaches of a barring order, on March 19 and March 20 last.
Sgt Paul Kelly told Judge James McNulty that there would be an objection to any bail application on foot of concerns over the social media posts.
A print-out of the social media material was handed in to the judge. Sgt Kelly said: “There is a reference made to children, who are his children.”
Sgt Kelly said gardaí received a report on March 19 in relation to messages on social media by the accused man and gardaí were made aware that a barring order was in force, which had specified no communication with the applicant or the children and which included the use of social media.
“When the gardaí became aware on the initial social media content there was reference made to the family and to the children but nothing of a sexual nature,” Sgt Kelly said.
“But yesterday gardaí became aware of further messages. They are quite sinister and serious in relation to one of the children.”
Judge McNulty outlined to the man how the barring order, granted last December, had made very specific mention of social media including that he was not to mention any matter concerning the applicant for the order, the children, or himself on social media.
The man said he had not been aware of this but the solicitor for the applicant told the judge that when the order was made the man had been in court and the issue had been explained to him. The man said he thought it had only referred to direct contact.
Judge McNulty said: “What I have been given are extracts from social media posts which seem to bear your name and some of the matters which are in them are alarming.”
He then read out one of the posts, which suggested that one of the children had engaged in sexual activity with the man and which also made a derogatory reference to the child’s mother.
“That post alone is alarming,” the judge said. He then asked the man whether he might have made the post, to which he replied “yes”. The judge then thanked him for his candour. Arresting Garda Karen O’Flynn confirmed to the court that the messages had been posted on Twitter and that it was a public forum.
The man did not initially have legal representation in court as he said his solicitor was based elsewhere in the country but a different solicitor was then assigned to him.
The solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, later told the court that the man would be pleading guilty and there would be no application for bail.
Given the indication of a plea the man was remanded in custody to appear before the court again this Friday for sentencing. Mr Fleming was granted legal aid.
The court had heard from Garda O’Flynn that when she arrested the man and put the first charge to him he replied: “Why? Why did I put them in fear? They are telling half the story.” The court heard he had made no reply when the second alleged breach of the barring order was put to him.