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Sex offender failed to tell gardai his location for 7 months

CourtsBy Sunday World
Ken Powell (Image via Independent.ie)
Ken Powell (Image via Independent.ie)

A sex offender who failed to notify gardai of where he was living for seven months had been staying in hotels, "squandering" an inheritance from the sale of his family home.

Ken Powell (49) started off homeless, then ended up back on the streets after wasting all his money, a court heard.

He could now be jailed as he was under a one-year suspended sentence for possession of child pornography at the time.

Powell, with an address at St Bricin's Military Hospital, was found guilty of failing to notify gardai of his address as a sex offender between May 7 and December 8, 2015.

He had pleaded not guilty.

Judge John Cheatle adjourned his case at Dublin District Court. He is due to appear before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where the sentencing judge will consider whether to revoke the suspension.

Garda Ciaran McGreal said Powell came to the Bridewell Station on February 22, 2015 to notify gardai of his then address, at the Civil Defence Homeless Shelter on Wolfe Tone Quay. The terms of the Sex Offenders Act were explained.

On April 29, the garda found out Powell was no longer at that address, which had shut down. By May 7, the seven days had elapsed and he was in breach of the Act. On June 2, the garda contacted Powell by phone.

He answered and said he was in Cavan but could not give an address.

He undertook to report to the local garda station but failed to do so.

He also failed to answer the phone and evaded the garda after that.

On December 6, Garda McGreal was at St Bricin's Military Barracks homeless accommodation on Infirmary Road when he met Powell. The accused came to the Bridewell Station two days later and was arrested.

Defence Solicitor Richard Young argued that the notification requirement did not apply to Powell because he had been homeless.

"If you are moving every two to three days, the obligation does not arise," Mr Young said.

"I believe he was actively evading compliance," Garda McGreal said. Judge Cheatle refused to dismiss the charge.

Powell said he inherited money from the sale of the family home. "I was staying in hotels, I squandered and wasted it all," he said. "When all the money was gone, I was back again on the streets."

 He claimed a probation officer told him: "Don't worry about it, if you are no fixed address, it's just not workable."

"I took him at his word," Powell said. "I didn't worry about it too much until I met Garda McGreal."

Via Herald.ie