A MAN has appeared in court charged with plying a 13-year-old with drink and allegedly abusing and having illegal sexual intercourse with her.

Robert Wright, 33, denies making the girl engage in sexual acts in Kilwinning and having intercourse while she was unable to consent.

Despite the nature of the charges, the case is not being prosecuted as a rape allegation – meaning it is being dealt with at sheriff court level rather than at the High Court, where tougher sentences are available in the event of a conviction.

Mr Wright, of Kenilworth Drive, Saltcoats, has been charged under sections 28, 29 and 31 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, which cover alleged intercourse and sexual activity with an older child and allegedly causing an older child to participate in a sexual activity.

It’s claimed that he committed the alleged offences at an address in Kilwinning and elsewhere on various occasions between December 6, 2020 and January 10, 2021.

The Crown alleges that he made sexual and inappropriate comments to the girl, and that he kissed and embraced her and touched her buttocks.

The charge on the indictment also accuses Mr Wright of biting the girl on the neck, compelling her to take part in a sexual act and sexually assaulting her, as well as of having illegal intercourse with her.

The case called before Sheriff Murdoch MacTaggart at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Tuesday, May 9.

Defence advocate Laura Ann Radcliffe said: “I’m not going to say we're ready for trial.

"I ask for a further continuation of this diet – ideally a four-week continuation to have further discussions with Mr Wright, with a view to possible resolution [before a trial].”

Sheriff Murdoch MacTaggart agreed to the defence motion and released Mr Wright on bail.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service said it was unable to comment on the charges while proceedings are still active.