Saturday 24 September 2016

Convicted sex offender to have his name taken off register

Declan Brennan

Published 12/11/2015 | 02:30

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A man convicted 15 years ago of abusing his daughter in the 1970s can now have his name removed from the sex offenders register, a court has heard.

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The 61-year-old Dubliner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty after a trial in March 2000 of indecently assaulting his daughter over the course of five years from when she was aged seven.

He was also convicted of sexually assaulting her when she was 23 and had fallen asleep in his house after they had been drinking together.

He was jailed for two years in 2000 for all offences. He had denied all charges.

Yesterday, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Martin Nolan said he could not find any reason to keep the man on the register after the Probation Services placed him at a low risk of reoffending.

Judge Nolan said no assessment could ever say that a person was at no risk of reoffending, so the low risk was probably the best that could be said. He said the purpose of the sex offenders' register was to monitor people who may be a danger to society, and so the practical consideration for the court must be the risk of a person reoffending.

"Is it in the interest of the common good to have a person who is low-risk on the register? The common good is not served by having him on the register," he said.

Judge Nolan said that because this was a novel application, he would put a stay on his order for a month to allow time for the State to appeal his decision. This was the first time the court had ruled on an application like this, he said.

The offender told the court he was not a danger to the public and that he wanted to be removed of the obligations and monitoring that came from being on the register. The obligations include having to notify gardaí of any change of address.

The law allows for a court to remove an offender from the register 10 years after a conviction if the court is satisfied that the interest of the common good is no longer served by having the person on it.

Risk

Judge Nolan said it was not in the interest of the common good to impose restrictions on the public if a person did not pose a current risk to society.

He previously ordered that the probation services carry out a risk assessment of the man.

James Dwyer, prosecuting, said the man was identified as being in a category of men who were at low risk of reconviction. The assessment was based on his age and profile. Last week, Judge Nolan said he wanted time to read the risk assessment report and would base his decision on the man's future risk to children.

A garda testified that he was involved in the monitoring of this man, and called unannounced to his home regularly to ensure compliance with the restrictions under the Sex Offenders Act and he was not under any undue attention.

"The offences were serious offences which took place over a period of time. I ensure there are no child protection issues. We clear this with the HSE," he added.

Irish Independent

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