Man, 42, charged with grooming and child sex offences

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A 42-year-old man has appeared in court accused of grooming and inciting a schoolgirl into sexual activity.

John Patrick Clarke, of Claremont Street in Belfast, also faces counts of offering to supply cannabis and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

His lawyer confirmed all of the alleged offences are denied.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard Clarke is accused of a total of six offences.

The charges include inciting a child under 16 to engage in a sexual activity, and causing her to look at an image for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.

Further alleged offences involve sexual communications with a child, attempting to meet her following grooming, and offering to supply a class B drug.

Clarke is then accused of attempting to ask another person to contact the injured party with an instruction, intending to pervert the course of justice.

All of the alleged offences were committed between July and August this year.

Appearing in the dock for the first time, Clarke spoke only to say he understood the charges.

Defence solicitor Feargal MacElhatton said his client “vehemently” denies the charges.

With the case adjourned for four weeks, Clarke was released on continuing bail.