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Sex offender jailed for failing to tell gardai of changed address due for release

CourtsBy Sunday World
Ian Bissett
Ian Bissett

A sex offender given jail time for failing to notify gardai of his changed address has had an appeal against conviction dismissed on all grounds.

A sex offender given jail time for failing to notify gardai of his changed address has had an appeal against conviction dismissed on all grounds.

Ian Bissett (30), with a last address at York House, Longford Street, Dublin 2, had denied the charge of failing to comply with notification requirements under the Sex Offenders Act within seven days on dates between July and August, 2011.

He was found guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and sentenced to two years imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on November 25, 2014.

Bissett had an appeal against his conviction dismissed on all grounds today. The court was told that he is due for release from custody in August.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Bissett was released from prison in 2009 having served a sentence for aggravated sexual assault.

Prior to his release, he was informed of the conditions placed upon him under the Sex Offenders Act and he signed a document acknowledging the conditions.

He was released in June 2011 from another term of imprisonment and again signed a similar document, Mr Justice Mahon said.

Gardai were subsequently advised by staff at a Salvation Army hostel in Dublin that Bissett had failed to return to his residence.

In October, he was arrested and had told gardai that he failed to comply because he was the subject of a warrant and he didn't want gardai to know where he was, Mr Justice Mahon said.

Counsel for Bissett, Michael Bowman SC, submitted that the admission into evidence of the hostel logs was contrary to rules on documentary hearsay because the persons inputting the details were unidentifiable.

At issue, Mr Justice Mahon said, was whether the logs were compiled in the ordinary course of business or with criminal proceedings in mind.

In the court's view, the log was maintained for the purpose of recording information relevant to the day-to-day management of the hostel's business activity such as might well be recorded by nursing homes or hotels.

Although it might conceivably be relevant to a criminal prosecution, that did not render the document "compiled for the purpose of criminal proceedings", the judge said.

Mr Bowman also submitted that Bissett had not been expressly informed that breaching requirements of the Act had penal consequences.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, said there was no substance whatsover to this ground as Bissett was fully aware that failure to comply carried penal sanction.

Bissett is due for release from custody in August, the court was told.

Ruaidhrí Giblin