Italian exchange student faces five charges of sexual assault on a child under 13

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An Italian exchange student has appeared in Derry Magistrates Court accused of sex offences.

Ivan Zali, whose address was given on court papers as Asylum Road, is accused of five charges of sexual assault on a child under 13.

He faces three further charges of sexual assault.

The offences were allegedly committed between July 20 and August 18 and involve five complainants.

An investigating officer told the court she believed she could connect the 20-year-old to the charges.

A defence solicitor said his client denies the offences.

He added that Zali had been working in a youth centre and admits touching the children but claims it was ‘horseplay’.

The solicitor applied for the Italian’s passport and identity card to be returned to him so he could go back to Italy.

He said the 20-year-old’s parents were in court and were willing to offer a cash surety.

The court also heard Zali’s brother is a member of the Italian armed forces.

District Judge Barney McElholm granted the application and allowed Zali to return to Italy.

He released the defendant on his own bail of £750 with a cash surety of £1,000 and ordered him to appear in court in Northern Ireland when directed to.

Zali is banned from having any contact with any witness or alleged injured party and ordered to have no supervised contact with any child under 16.

The case was adjourned until December 10 and Zali has been excused from attending unless he is required.