Seriously ill sex offender may be electronically tagged

A Wicklow man who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl may become one of the first offenders to be electronically tagged as an alternative to prison.

The 62-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, suffers from a serious medical condition and the Prison Service has told the court they may not be able to treat him in jail.

He has been on bail since he was convicted last February while it was established if he could be imprisoned or not.

Today Judge Tony Hunt again adjourned sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after hearing that the man was not in court. He had gone into hospital to have a procedure carried out last week but it had not gone well and he remained in hospital.

Judge Hunt said he would consider alternatives to prison on “humanitarian grounds” which may include curfews and electronic tagging. He said he would look at having the man tagged after noting there had been trials of the system.

“I regard this man as a very significant threat to the female half of the population, or at least he was before his illness,” the judge said.

“If he’s not incarcerated, and he deserves to be for a lengthy period, there will be a lengthy curfew covering most of the day, save for medical appointments and some sort of exercise which he would be entitled to in prison.”

He adjourned the case until the end of the month when he will finalise a sentence.

The man had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the girl on September 21, 2005 and was convicted by a jury in February of this year.

During the trial a professor who had been running on the beach that morning told the jury that he saw a girl lying face down on rocks with a man standing behind her, molesting her.

The witness told the court that there was “absolutely no doubt” about it and added that he knew he had just witnessed a “serious sexual assault on a child”.

When confronted by the witness, the man claimed that he and the child had been gathering rocks and she had fallen and he had been checking on her.

He then told the witness that he had not being “interfering” with the child.

The witness told the court he then told the man: “I know what I saw. I am taking your registration details and I will be calling the gardaí.”

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