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Wednesday 22 May 2019

Man jailed over poster campaign about publican

Azra Naseem

A 61-YEAR-OLD man who put up posters in his locality naming a publican as an alleged paedophile has been jailed for 30 months.

Bernard Clyne, Brighton Cottage, Foxrock, was convicted by a jury in May of harassment of his victim between April 2 and April 21 2003 by putting up the posters.

Yesterday in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Katherine Delahunt noted that the offence carried a possible sentence of seven years or a fine and said she considered Clyne's premeditated actions at the upper end of the scale.

However, she took his age and health, among other matters, into consideration in the sentence she imposed.

The jury of five men and seven women found Clyne guilty of harassment after a four-day trial in which it heard him say that the British television series, 'The Bill', had given him the idea to run what he agreed was "a concerted campaign" against the publican.

Judge Delahunt said she had not taken Clyne's two previous convictions into account because she considered them to be only of historical interest at this time. One was for indecent assault on a woman in 1966.

Judge Delahunt said Clyne had embarked "on a premeditated campaign of harassment" by putting up posters containing allegations of a scandalous and grievous nature, which had the intention of causing distress to the victim and his family and also, in his own admission to of causing economic loss.

"This campaign took on a more sinister nature when it emerged he had been barred from this pub beforehand," the judge said.

She noted that Clyne had not expressed regret or remorse and had said he didn't accept his campaign had caused any distress to the victim.

Clyne told the jury he ran the campaign as a favour to a lifelong friend, who asked him to get justice for his son who had allegedly been sexually abused by the publican when he was about eight or nine years old.

"I believed every word in the posters," Clyne told his counsel.

He also explained that he had opted to put up the posters rather than report the matter to gardai for several reasons.

He said he was "not a learned man" and did not know the proper procedures at the time, and the boy had been "too fragile" then to handle questions from gardai.

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