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Schoolgirl ‘distressed’ after incident on bus

A SCHOOLGIRL was left “badly shaken and extremely distressed” after an encounter on a bus with a convicted sex offender.

Artur Symantus (35) from Cathedral Close, Clogher is charged with indecently assaulting the child last Thursday. 

East Tyrone Magistrates Court  heard that an Ulsterbus inspector rang police to explain an incident had occurred on a bus travelling from Enniskillen to Clogher, which was verified by an independent witness who came to the girl’s aid.

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Symantus is alleged to have been seated elsewhere, before moving beside the injured party.  He allegedly touched her leg and made “inappropriate remarks.”

The girl said he asked her several times if she had a boyfriend, then said he wanted to be her boyfriend.

A passenger observed the girl was uncomfortable and challenged Symantus who is said to have responded, “You’re lying, you’re lying.”

He was told to leave the schoolgirl alone, and the passenger advised the driver on what had occurred, then sat beside the girl for the remainder of the journey to Clogher where the bus was met by police.

The girl’s mother had been alerted and was waiting with police.

The court was told the child was “scared, frightened and crying” and her account of what occurred was captured on police body worn cameras.

Symantus, who it is claimed was intoxicated, was taken from the bus and arrested.

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Objected to bail

Objecting to bail the police officer said, “It has since been confirmed the defendant is on the sex offender register in Poland having served a prison sentence for sexual offending. We have concerns if released there is risk to young persons in the area.

“We also believe there is a potential risk of flight, and there may be some issues over failing to advise police of a new address as per sex offender notification requirements, although that has not been fully confirmed.”

A defending lawyer said Symantus is employed with a Coalisland company, and does not dispute being in Enniskillen where he was checking if a better job may be available.

He resided in Dungannon for a time before moving to Clogher where he has lived for two years.

The defence contended, “My client accepts there were sex offences in Poland where he was jailed for a year. He is unable to give specifics but claims it was relatively minor. He insists while he had consumed alcohol, he was not intoxicated. He also states there was no touching of the child, and any contact was entirely innocent as a result of the bus in motion.”

But District Judge Steven Keown refused to entertain the notion of bail swiftly throwing the application out, noting “This was a very worrying incident.”

Symantus was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on July 3.

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