‘Inciting prostitution’ case

A 23-year-old man accused of inciting child prostitution has been refused bail at Derry Magistrate’s Court.

Scott Joseph Toothill, of Meadowvale Park, Limavady, is charged with causing or inciting child prostitution and arranging sexual offences against a child between March 17 and April 14.

An investigating officer told the court that the charges relate to a false online modelling agency which police believe was set up by Toothill.

He allegedly incited young girls between the ages of 13 and 15 to pose naked for pornographic pictures. The officer claimed this offence was committed whilst the 23-year-old was on bail for other offences.

She revealed that Toothill has breached bail conditions previously by having access to a mobile phone and a laptop computer. Opposing bail, the officer said police believed there were child protection issues in the case and feared that Toothill would re-offend if he was released on bail. Police also have fears that the 23-year-old may try to contact some of the alleged injured parties or interfere with witnesses.

A defence solicitor told the court his client has been in custody since April and it was going to be “a considerable time” before the trial was ready to proceed. He added that Toothill’s father had removed the internet connection from the house and would vouch for his son if he was released on bail.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said Toothill had “shown himself as someone who doesn’t readily adhere to bail condtions.” He said while he appreciated the 23-year-old’s father’s efforts to remove internet access from the proposed bail address, someone can get access to the wireless network almost anywhere.

Mr McElholm added he could not think of what conditions he could impose to meet police fears.

Toothill will appear in court again via videolink on January 5.