Derry

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Paedophile released from prison

Published February 17, 2015 by misty534

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People living in the William Street area of Derry say they are concerned for the safety of their children after a convicted paedophile moved back into the area after he was released from prison recently.

The concerned parents, who did not want to disclose their identity publicly, said statutory agencies contacted them over the weekend to inform them that convicted child sex offender, Brendan McGowan, had moved back into the area.

“Welfare officers contacted people living in the area with children at the weekend to tell them not to let him [Mr. McGowan] into their homes.

“I knew Mr. McGowan before he went to prison. I have kids and I will not be letting him anywhere near my house,” said one of the concerned parents.

“I think it’s awful that a man like this can return to a place where there is a school literally just around the corner. It’s just not right,” she added.

Mr. McGowan whose address at the time of the court case last year was Brewster’s Close, pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges of abusing a boy in a flat in the Bogside.

McGowan was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years on probation.

He is also not allowed to work with children.

The abuse started in September 1989 when the boy was aged 12.

The judge said McGowan, who shared a love of jazz with the boy, used flattery as well as an element of grooming and seduction to carry out the abuse.

He said McGowan, a former swimming instructor at the baths on William Street and Templemore Sports Complex, once said to his victim: “I thought you knew I was gay,”

He said McGowan, a gay rights activist who had set up a helpline and support group for gay people, had difficulties in accepting responsibility for his behaviour.

The judge said he had abused his victim who is 33 years younger than him for “his own desires”.

As part of his sentencing, Mr. McGowan must inform police of his whereabouts for the next ten years.

The Derry Journal put a number of specific questions to the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) yesterday afternoon but a PBNI spokesperson said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

“The PBNI cannot comment on the details of any individual case,” the spokesperson said.

Andrew Quin

Child images accused ‘fears RAAD attack’

Published July 8, 2013 by misty534

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A man accused of child images offences has failed in a legal bid to secure anonymity over fears of a possible paramilitary attack.

 

Judges in the High Court on Monday upheld a decision to refuse to impose a ban on publicising Daniel Martin Carlin’s identity.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: “It seems to us that the applicant has not crossed the hurdle of demonstrating that there is a real risk in relation to this matter.”

Carlin, 62, of Ballyarnett, Derry, was due before the city’s Magistrates’ Court last week charged with making indecent images of children.

His lawyer sought an anonymity order, citing a previous incident linked to the paramilitary vigilante grouping Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD).

A hearing was held in chambers, with a press representative later invited to participate before the district judge refused the request.

Judicial review proceedings were then brought to the High Court in a bid to overturn that decision.

Lawyers for Carlin attempted to establish that the risk of him being attacked was real, rather than fanciful.

Despite their arguments it was confirmed that police have no information to suggest Carlin is under current threat from any known grouping.

A distinction was also drawn with drugs cases where defendants in Derry have been granted anonymity due fears of being attacked by RAAD.

Sir Declan, sitting with Mr Justice Treacy, pointed out there was nothing to indicate a generalised threat against alleged sex offenders in the city.

Dismissing the application, he also stressed that the media should be given the chance to attend future anonymity applications – even when the public is excluded.

“It’s for the district judge in each case to satisfy him or herself that there is good reason for not dealing with anonymity issues in open court,” Sir Declan said.

“At the very minimum… both parties should be in court – prosecution and defence, any co-defendants who are involved should be in court and it is essential that a member of the press also be available to ensure the press have an adequate opportunity to make representations and to take any further steps they consider are appropriate in relation to the application.

“That is an absolute minimum requirement of open justice. It’s important that all of those involved in the justice system are aware of it.”

 

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