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Man (83) removed from Sex Offenders Register – despite being at 'moderate risk' of re-offending

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AN 83-year-old man, who was jailed for sexually abusing three young girls, has had his application to be removed from the Sex Offenders Register granted by the Royal Court – despite being assessed as at moderate risk of re-offending.

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The unnamed pensioner was aged 66 to 71 at the time of the crimes, which he was jailed for in 2013 and made subject to the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders Register for a minimum of five years.

Now, despite a legal challenge from the Crown, the man, who has been out of prison since 2014, has had his name removed from the register and will no longer be subject to regular police checks.

That is despite prosecutors arguing that he was at a ‘moderate risk of sexual recidivism’ – or five on a scale of one to 12 – because he maintains his innocence, has shown no empathy for his victims and even becomes ‘verbally hostile’ when he speaks about them. It was also heard that because the offender’s family have stood by him and believe his innocence they ‘are deemed to be collusive, in the sense that they will not challenge his behaviour in relation to his victims’.

Campaigner Cheyenne O’Connor, who is a two-time Pride of Jersey finalist and who campaigned earlier this year for sex offenders to be subject to notification requirements for life, said it was ‘unbelievable’ that the man had been removed from the register.

‘He shouldn’t be off the register. He can’t even comprehend the fact he has damaged these children and still protests his innocence. Until he can admit what he’s done and see the impact it would have had on these children he shouldn’t even be able to apply to come off it.’

Miss O’Connor, who is also well know for her work catching sex offenders online using decoy accounts, said the man’s name should not have been redacted from court papers.

According to a judgment, the applicant argued for his application to be hidden from the public completely. However, the court, referencing the case of the Jersey Evening Post v Al Thani and Four Others, ruled otherwise. The applicant said the court should have sat in private to ‘avoid opening the doors against similar abuse to my wife and her daughters, as has been going on over recent years and... to myself’.

In 2002, this newspaper went to court to defend the media’s right to report cases held in the Jersey courts in the interests of democracy and open justice. The Royal Court ruled that court cases should be held in public except when there were compelling reasons not to because the administration of justice would be adversely affected.

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According to court papers, the applicant considered the notification requirements to be an ‘additional ongoing penalty against him’ and had affected a trip he and his wife were due to go on to France with friends.

Other factors that led to the court’s decision included:

  • the original offences were at the ‘lower end of the scale in terms of seriousness’
  • the applicant was at the lower end of the moderate band of risk of re-offending

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  • he has the support of his wife and step-daughters
  • he has ongoing health problems including short-term memory loss which increases ‘the potential for inadvertent breaches of the notification requirements’.

The court concluded: ‘For all these reasons, the court concluded that the risk of sexual harm that the applicant posed did not justify his being subject to the notification requirements and they were accordingly lifted.’

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
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