Children's author who allegedly breached sex offenders order refused bail
A CHILDREN’S author who allegedly breached a sex offenders order has been refused bail after gardai argued that he posed a flight risk.
Dorian Cowland (69) is also alleged to have used a fake Facebook profile to search the names of “injured parties” connected to a previous case.
The kids’ book writer – who uses a number of aliases, including his professional name PJ Cormack – appeared before a sitting of Wexford District Court yesterday morning charged with contravening a sex offender order, which was put in place by the circuit court on July 17.
His house was initially searched last month as part of a “routine inspection” before he was charged yesterday and brought to court.
Objecting to bail, Garda John Cleary said that the defendant was a flight risk as he had recently acquired a new Irish passport on September 20 and had also been in contact with the Indian embassy about obtaining a passport.
Gda Cleary told the court that on October 13, as part of a routine inspection at Mr Cowland’s home, two computer devices were examined.
A programme was allegedly discovered on the computer which “updates every 24 hours and hides the previous day’s internet search”.
On November 1, a warrant was obtained for the two computers to be seized.
A later search of the computer by a specialist garda found that a Facebook profile with the name Paddy Fitzgerald was being used to search the names of “injured parties” related to a previous case Mr Cowland was involved in, the court heard.
This Facebook account had been active since September, according to gardai.
Gda Cleary told the court that the defendant had previously received a 16-month prison term at Warwick Crown Court in the UK for distributing indecent images of children.
The garda said the computer search history showed that Mr Cowland had also enquired about properties in France, where he had previously lived.
“I believe he is a flight risk,” Gda Cleary told the court.
It was also told that Mr Cowland “has plenty of means”.
Gda Cleary said that he arrested the accused at 7.27am yesterday at his home in Knocknavey, The Ballagh, near Enniscorthy, under Section 22 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001.
He was later charged at 9.06am but made no reply.
Defence counsel for Mr Cowland argued that his client had no history of breaching bail conditions, and that he was offering to “put up a substantial” amount of money as a bond.
After the judge queried how much was meant by substantial, the court heard that Mr Cowland was offering “€5,000, and more if required”.
In cross-examination, gardai accepted that the blocker on the accused’s computer could have been there before the sex offenders order was in place.
However, Gda Cleary said the Act outlines that Mr Cowland is not to have any device capable of deleting or containing history of use.
Earlier in the hearing, part of the sex offenders order had been read out by gardai.
It stated that Mr Cowland cannot have any unsupervised communication with a person under 17 and that he cannot have any device capable of storing digital images.
Gardai also said that Dorian Cowland is “prevented from using any name other than Patrick Joseph Cormack, Patrick Cormack, PJ Cormack and Paul Curran for purposes for work as an author or film-maker”.
Dressed is a brown suit jacket and dark trousers, the defendant did not address the court during the bail application hearing but spoke with his defence counsel on a number of occasions.
Judge Gerard Naughton said he was refusing bail on the grounds that the defendant had inquired about an Indian passport, that he has a new Irish passport and that he was searching for property in France having previously resided there.