Thursday 18 October 2018

UK paedophile is sentenced to six months in prison

Sex offender and children's author failed to notify gardai he was living in The Ballagh

Dorian Cowland, pictured in 2012
Dorian Cowland, pictured in 2012

A convicted paedophile from the UK who had been living in The Ballagh area has been sentenced to six months in prison for failing to notify gardaí of his convictions and sign on the sex offenders register.

Dorian Cowland, who had been living in the townland of Knocknavey for the past three years, was previously convicted of possessing and distributing indecent photographs of children in 2012 and was handed 16 months in prison. Before this, back in 1988, he was sentenced to four years in prison for the indecent assault of a male under the age of 14, along with five years on two counts of buggery from Bristol court. Following his most recent convictions for having indecent images of children, he was required to be put on the UK offender's register for ten years and was automatically obliged to register here upon moving to Ireland.

There had been some confusion over the correct name for the defendant, as the court heard that he had attempted to change his name by deed pole and was also known as Patrick Joseph Cormack in a bid to 'live somewhat of a normal life' following his convictions. He had subsequently attempted to move from the UK to France, but when the owners of the French property he was renting found out that he was a sex offender, he moved to Spain, where his sister lives, before moving to Ireland.

Somewhat disturbingly, the court heard that Cowland, aka Cormack, was a children's author of some renown and had had numerous works published. Solicitor John O'Donovan said that his client had been in the jurisdiction for three years and has property here. 'He apologises profusely, said Mr O'Donovan. 'He says that he didn't realise that he needed to register here. He says it's an honest mistake and it has now been rectified.'

Mr O'Donovan then went on to speak of Cowland's exploits in the world of children's literature before saying that he had previously been a successful accountant also.

'My client has not come to any attention in this jurisdiction,' he continued. 'He only came to the attention of the gardaí as the result of an enquiry from Interpol. He holds up his hands and I would ask, under the circumstances, for the leniency of the court.'

'I don't accept that he misunderstood the requirements,' said Judge Gerard Haughton. 'He's a well educated man of considerable talent; a very successful writer. He changed his name by deed pole when leaving for France and used that name to purchase land in Ireland. He should've known that the law required him to register. There are no mitigating circumstances here other than the plea of guilty.'

Judge Haughton stressed the seriousness of the offence before sentencing Cowland to six months in prison, saying that he was not prepared to consider a suspended sentence or community service.

Judge Haughton said that, as a result of the name change and the defendant's travel between Spain, France and Ireland, an independent surety of €3,000 would be required for bail on appeal. Mr O'Donovan indicated that Cowland's brother in law, who had travelled from Spain, would be willing to do this, however, time was needed for gardaí to carry out enquiries.

Enniscorthy Guardian