wanted man Irishman told to live 'in a tent' with other sex offenders on US campsite granted extradition appeal
Martin Jude Wall is fighting attempts to send him back to the State of Georgia where he is wanted by the Chatham County Sheriff's office.
An Irish sex offender who fled the United States after claiming the "inhumane" conditions of his release forced him to live a violent homeless camp was today granted a temporary reprieve in his fight against extradition back across the Atlantic.
The High Court has previously ruled there was no basis to prevent the authorities in this country from returning Martin Jude Wall (46) to the US.
Wall appealed that decision and in a judgement issued today, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said the Court of Appeal required more information regarding claims the appellant would be subject to inhumane treatment if returned to the US before making its decision.
Wall had been caught in a police sting in the State of Georgia after he sent a nude selfie to an internet chatroom user he believed was 13-year-old girl.
He was later sentenced to a detention period of not more than a year and not less than 240 days for attempting to entice a child for indecent purposes.
Wall, whose last address in Ireland was in Clontarf, Dublin, returned to Ireland while on probation, unhappy with the conditions imposed on him as a sex offender which he claimed had forced him into homelessness and prevented him from working.
He since has been fighting attempts to send him back to the State of Georgia where he is wanted by the Chatham County Sheriff's office for an alleged breach of his bail conditions.
Last October, Mr Justice Paul Burns ruled at the High Court that there was no basis to refuse Wall's surrender to US authorities and ordered his return.
Wall, who was remanded in custody last November, appealed Mr Justice Burns’ decision, claiming the judge failed “to carry out any further analysis as to whether the appellant would be subject to inhumane and degrading treatment” on his return to the US.
At a February 8 hearing at the Court of Appeal, the three-judge court was told that convicted sex offenders in State of Georgia were not allowed to live with 300 metres of any place where children might congregate.
This ruling, the court was told, prevented Wall from residing with 300 metres of a variety of places including schools, churches, shopping malls, and bus stops, and he was effectively homeless as a result.
In today’s judgement, Ms Justice Donnelly ruled the three-judge court required additional information before making a decision regarding Mr Justice Burns’ decision.
Ms Justice Donnelly had heard Wall’s appeal along with Court President Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards.
She stated that it was important “to bear in mind that the risk of inhuman and degrading treatment relied upon by the appellant” relied upon a risk he would be “subject to the sex offender’s regime which would leave him living in conditions of such abject poverty and homelessness where the risk of violence was constant that it would amount to inhuman and degrading treatment”.
Ms Justice Donnelly also stated the appeal court has not decided as to whether the circumstances in which Wall said found himself on probation would “amount to inhuman and degrading treatment” and was requesting further submissions from both parties.
A date for a future hearing will be set tomorrow, the judge added.
At the appeal hearing earlier this month, Shane Costelloe SC, for Wall, told the court the main reason his client left the US was because of Georgia’s strict sex offenders legislation.
Mr Costelloe said the restrictions had resulted in Wall losing his job and had forced to him to live in a tent in a camp alongside other sex offenders on the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia.
He said his client has been the victim of violence as a result of his homelessness, and was forced to dig “his own latrine” in the earth because there were no toilet facilities at the camp.
When Wall first informed his probation officer that he faced being made homeless because the 300-metre rule was making it impossible for him to find anywhere to live, Mr Costelloe said his client was told to “go and live in a tent”.
“He ends up living in a tent in a homeless facility at the side of train tracks, where he experiences violence on a nightly basis,” counsel added.
In response, Patrick McGrath SC, for the Attorney General, said Mr Justice Burns had been entitled to reach his decision and that Wall was being returned to the US “to serve a sentence of imprisonment”.
“This is not a case where the appellant would be required to live in tent,” he said.
“The likely outcome in this case is that he would receive a period of detention.”
Last October, the High Court was told that in February 2012 Wall had pleaded guilty through plea-bargain to attempting to entice a child for indecent purposes. He had sent messages and a nude photo of himself from his phone through a chat-group to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl.
The High Court heard previously that the profile to which Wall sent the nude selfie was fictitious and the creation of US detectives, who then arrested him when he travelled to meet the ‘girl’ in person.
Wall was detained for a period of not more than a year and not less than 240 days for attempting to entice a child for indecent purposes.
He had sent messages and a nude photo of himself from his phone through a chat-group to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl.
Mr Mícheál P O'Higgins SC, for the Minister for Justice, told the court that detectives created a "non-sexually suggestive" profile but that Wall tried to initiate the meeting, said he was "very good at massage" and repeatedly asked for photos.
Wall said in one message that he preferred "younger girls but I guess you're okay".
Mr O’Higgins said that Wall initiated "sex talk" and that he suggested meeting the girl for sex acts.
Wall told the fake profile that he had a cheating wife and that he was looking to take revenge on her with the girl, who he told was "very hot, very hot".
One message from Wall read: "Are you going to have me arrested?"
After sending the photo, Wall suggested that he and the girl should meet and detectives arrested Wall at the location.
Mr O'Higgins said that when detectives asked Wall if he had had a conversation with a girl, he "froze" with the phone still in his hand.
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