Man given 30 months for paedophile claim posters

 

A 61-year-old man who put up posters in his locality naming a publican as an alleged paedophile has been jailed for 30 months by Judge Katherine Delahunt at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Bernard Clyne, Brighton Cottage, Foxrock, Co Dublin was convicted by a jury in May of harassment of his victim between April 2nd and April 21st, 2003 by putting up the posters.

Judge Delahunt noted that the offence carried a possible sentence of seven years or a fine. She considered Clyne's premeditated actions at the upper end of the scale but she took his age and health, among other matters, into consideration in the sentence she imposed.

The jury of five men and seven women found Clyne guilty of harassment after a four-day trial in which it heard him say that the English television series, The Bill, had given him the idea to run what he agreed was "a concerted campaign" against the publican.

Judge Delahunt said she had not taken Clyne's two previous convictions into account because she considered them to be only of historical interest at this time. One was an order under Section 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and the other for indecent assault on a woman in 1966.

Judge Delahunt said Clyne had embarked "on a premeditated campaign of harassment" by putting up posters containing allegations of a scandalous and grievous nature which had the intention of causing distress to the victim and his family and also in his own admission to causing economic loss. "This campaign took on a more sinister nature when it emerged he had been barred from this pub beforehand," Judge Delahunt said.

She was "puzzled" that despite the evidence called on behalf of Clyne, the defence had not put forward the case that the contents of the posters were true.

She noted that Clyne had not expressed regret or remorse and he didn't accept his campaign had caused any distress to the victim.

The question of whether or not he might reoffend was also a cause of distress to the court.

Judge Delahunt refused an application by defence counsel, Mr Michael O'Higgins BL (with Mr Michael Cush SC) for leave to appeal both conviction and sentence in view of the nature of the case and legal issues it had raised.

Clyne had told the jury he ran the campaign as a favour to a lifelong friend who asked him to get justice for his son who had allegedly been sexually abused by the publican when he was about eight or nine years old.