Order to stop sex offender contacting children online refused

Judge says no evidence before court that any threat posed to a child or children

 Convicted sex offender Brian Mulvihill was released under supervision in September 2012 on the condition that he follows all directions of the Probation Service for 10 years.  Photograph: Collins

Convicted sex offender Brian Mulvihill was released under supervision in September 2012 on the condition that he follows all directions of the Probation Service for 10 years. Photograph: Collins

Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 01:00

A Circuit Court judge has refused to make an order preventing a convicted sex offender from contacting children online after a court heard he was using Twitter to claim he worked for the band One Direction.

Brian Mulvihill (36) was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2007 for what a judge then called “an appalling” aggravated sexual assault on a young woman. The Court of Criminal Appeal later suspended the last four years of this term. Shortly afterwards he received a five-year term in Ennis Circuit Criminal Court for a separate sexual assault.

Mulvihill, who is originally from Kilkee in Co Clare but with a current address of Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, Dublin, was released under supervision in September 2012 on the condition that he follows all directions of the Probation Service for 10 years.

On Monday, the Garda applied at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for five orders intended to reduce the risk posed by Mulvihill following several instances of inappropriate post-release behaviour.

Risk factor

The court heard the main risk factor was his consumption of alcohol. In submissions on behalf of An Garda Síochána, counsel Vincent Heneghan, asked the court to order that Mulvihill not use the internet to contact minors and that he not contact other sex offenders. He also asked for an order banning him from changing his name, consuming alcohol and entering licensed premises.

Yesterday, Judge Mary Ellen Ring said there was no evidence before the court from either the Probation Service or gardaí that any threat was posed to a child or children.

She said she was making no order although she noted there was evidence of him being stopped by a garda in Inchicore while drunk.

Garda Denis Mulligan previously told the court that he had been monitoring Mulvihill since March 2013 and he had several concerns about his behaviour. He said Mulvihill was taking an adult education course at the time. There were five women in his class and four of them had made complaints about him, including that he was sending them inappropriate texts.

The garda said he also falsely claimed to classmates that he was getting an operation for throat cancer to get their sympathy.

Treatment

One of his lecturers, Patricia Doyle, gave him her mobile number so he could update her on his treatment. Mulvihill started calling Ms Doyle to complain about his treatment by the women in the class. Ms Doyle told him to stop sending messages to the girls and Mulvihill replied: “I don’t care anymore, I’ll be back.”

The lecturer took this as a threat and was afraid. Garda Mulligan later delivered a letter to Mulvihill from the college asking him not to return. Garda Mulligan also learned that Mulvihill had set up seven or eight Twitter accounts on which he falsely claimed to work for One Direction.

He tweeted that he was a friend of band member Niall Horan and asked fans to get in contact if they had any questions. The garda told the judge that this was concerning as the band are popular with young girls.

Defence counsel Keith Spencer submitted to the judge that the prosecution’s requests were disproportionate and unnecessary.