AN ARMIDALE man accused of grooming a young girl for sex has appeared in court for the first time.
Robert Leslie Watson walked into Armidale Local Court yesterday, charged with three counts of procuring a person under 16 years old following an undercover police sting in the car park of a family restaurant in Armidale on July 1.
Detectives from the Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit surrounded the 34-year-old in the car park and allege he was there to meet a young girl.
It was at this point that police pounced, and revealed undercover officers had been posing as a 13-year-old girl online.
As part of the police facts, officers allege Watson was sexually explicit and made inappropriate comments towards a 13-year-old girl online.
The investigation was prompted after NSW Police were alerted by the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in January to certain information involving suspected illegal activities.
Computers, cannabis and a set of nunchakus, as well as electronic storage devices, which police said they will forensically analyse, were seized as part of the investigation following a raid on the man’s Armidale home.
As a result of the search, Watson is facing one count each of possessing a prohibited drug and possessing a prohibited weapon.
In court yesterday, Watson did not enter any pleas to the charges and the court heard the child sex charges will be referred onto to the DPP to be prosecuted.
Magistrate Karen Stafford continued Watson’s bail with the case to return to court later this month.