Man admits child sex assault

A 42 year-old man changed his mind at the 11th hour and pleaded guilty on Monday at Craigavon Crown Court to a sexual assault on a six year old child last year in Lurgan.

In the dock was David Thomas Page, with an address at Innis Centre, Ventry Lane, Belfast, although at the time of the offence he was living in Lurgan.

At his arraignment Page had pleaded not guilty to three charges and a jury trial was listed to begin on Monday.

Members of the jury panel filled the public seats as Page was brought into the court after a delayed start while he consulted with his legal representatives.

The court was asked that he should be re-arraigned on counts one and two.

The charge that on May 7 last year he intentionally touched a child under the age of 13 years was put to him and at first he did not say anything.

Page asked to consult with his solicitor who went into the dock and spoke with him for a few minutes.

When the charge was put to him again this time he pleaded guilty.

He also pleaded guilty to the offence that while being the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order without reasonable excuse had contact with a female child under 16 years of age without the prior approval of the Designated Risk Manager.

At the request of the prosecution a charge alleging abduction of the child was left on the books.

Judge Patrick Lynch explained to the jury panel that the victim was now aged seven but aged six at the time of the offences.

He said that he was keen that she should not go through having to give evidence and the delay had been to give the defendant time to consult with his legal representatives. He then excused the jury panel.

Reporting restrictions had been imposed at the preliminary enquiry banning the publication of Page’s name in the media.

Judge Lynch said he had looked at this and he could see no legal reason for the restriction and ordered that it should be removed.

The case was adjourned for reports until February 28 when Page will be sentenced.