Sunday 17 December 2017

Convicted sex offender allowed limited access to the internet

Conor Gallagher and Declan Brennan

A COURT has consented to allow a convicted sex offender limited access to the internet after previously banning him entirely.

The 39-year-old man, who cannot be named because of pending charges, has also been forbidden from posing as a film director or journalist in search of child subjects.

He has also been ordered not to have any contact via phone or computer with any child under the age of 18.

Last month the State sought 16 orders against the accused as part of child protection measures introduced in the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The court granted all the orders without objection.

One of the orders banned him from using the internet entirely. Since then the defence has applied to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to have this order reversed.

Counsel for the State agreed to allow him limited access but with the condition that he stays off social networking sites and instant messenger programmes. The accused is also now forbidden from deleting his internet history or using a device that is unable to store internet history.

The court heard previously that the accused was inviting boys to his home under the pretense of making films.

Vincent Heneghan BL, counsel for the Chief State Solicitors Office told Judge Martin Nolan that since the man’s release from prison for possession of child pornography he has used Facebook and other websites to build up relationships with boys as young as 12.

Mr Heneghan said that an affidavit from Garda Chief Superintendent Declan Coburn detailed how the man had invited some of these boys to his home under the pretense of making films.

The court heard that he had asked one boy to dress up in a football kit.

Mr Heneghan said the man is facing a charge of buggery of a 16-year-old-boy and is awaiting sentence for the sexual assault of another young boy.

He also has one previous conviction in Ireland for the possession of child pornography and two convictions in Wales for possession of child pornographic images.

Counsel said the man has a history of claiming to be involved in the production of films and that as far back as 1999 he had set up a child acting agency in Kerry.

The court also ordered the man not to communicate or discuss “Asperger’s Syndrome” with any group or social networks except his lawyers and doctors.

It further prohibits him from having any contact with children, from using any alias and from making or creating any photographic images of children or looking at images of children naked or in their undergarments.

The accused, who is on bail, is to face trial for the sex abuse charges sometime later this year.

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