Monday 20 November 2017

Convicted sex offender who falsely claimed to work for One Direction poses no threat to children, judge rules

Brian Mulvihill leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Brian Mulvihill leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Conor Gallagher and Aoife NicArdghail

A Circuit Court judge has refused to make an order preventing a convicted sex offender from contacting children online after a court heard he was using Twitter to claim he worked for the band One Direction.

Brian Mulvihill (36) was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2007 for what a judge then called “an appalling” aggravated sexual assault on a young woman. The Court of Criminal Appeal later suspended the last four years of this term.

Shortly afterwards he received a five year term in Ennis Circuit Criminal Court for a separate sexual assault.

Mulvihill, who is originally from Kilkee in Co. Clare but with a current address of Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore Dublin 8, was released under supervision in September 2012 on the condition that he follows all directions of the Probation Services for ten years.

On Monday the gardaí applied at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for five orders intended to reduce the risk posed by Mulvihill following several instances of inappropriate post-release behaviour. The court heard the main risk factor is his consumption of alcohol.

In submissions on behalf of An Garda Síochána, Vincent Heneghan BL, asked the court to order that Mulvihill not use the internet to contact minors and that he not contact other sex offenders.

He also asked for an order banning him from changing his name, consuming alcohol and entering licensed premises.

Today Judge Mary Ellen Ring said that there was no evidence before the court from either the Probation Service or gardaí that any threat was posed to a child or children.

She said she was making no order although she noted there was evidence of him being stopped by a garda in Inchicore while drunk

Garda Denis Mulligan previously told the court that he has been monitoring Mulvihill since March 2013 and that he had several concerns about his behaviour.

He said Mulvihill was taking an adult education course at the time. There were five women in his class and four of them had made complaints about him, including that he was sending them inappropriate texts.

The garda said he also falsely claimed to classmates that he was getting an operation for throat cancer to get their sympathy. One of his lecturers, Patricia Doyle, gave him her mobile number so he could update her on his treatment.

Mulvihill started calling Ms Doyle to complain about his treatment by the women in the class. Ms Doyle told him to stop sending messages to the girls and Mulvihill replied: “I don’t care anymore, I’ll be back.”

The lecturer took this as a threat and was afraid. Gda Mulligan later hand delivered a letter to Mulvihill from the college asking him not to return.

Gda Mulligan also learned that Mulvihill had set up seven or eight Twitter accounts on which he falsely claimed to work for One Direction. Mulvihill said in his tweets that he was a friend of band member Niall Horan and asked fans to get in contact if they had any questions.

The garda told Judge Ring that this was concerning as the band are very popular with young girls.

“It would be an attraction to a schoolgirl that he had a connection with them,” he said.

Defence counsel Keith Spencer BL submitted to Judge Ring that the prosecution’s requests are disproportionate and unnecessary as the Probation Service can “create offences” if Mulvihill doesn't comply with its directions. He said his client could then face six months in jail if the Probation Service re-enters the matter in the District Court.

Counsel added that his client is co-operating with the Probation Service and now abstaining from alcohol.

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