GARDAI HUNT FOR ON-THE-RUN PAEDO; Pervert at 'high risk' of re-offending, court told.
Byline: GORDON DEEGAN
GARDAI were last night trying to trace a "high risk" convicted paedophile who has gone missing.
Ennis District Court yesterday issued a bench warrant for Joseph O'Brien, who has a high risk of re-offending.
At the 62-year-old's last appearance in the court earlier this month he agreed to not have direct contact with children.
The condition was part of a suspended four-month sentence imposed by Judge Durcan on O'Brien for pleading guilty to failing to notify gardai of a change of address under the Sex Offenders Act.
Judge Durcan said the contents of a probation report on O'Brien put his case "in a serious category all on its own". He read out an extract noting a substantial conviction record, most notably three for attempted murder, four for indecent assault, three for indecent exposure, and several burglaries.
In October 2003 O'Brien received a six-month jail sentence for the indecent assault of a female minor.
Det Sgt Eric Godfrey told the court yesterday Mr O'Brien was not at an address at Pound Street, Ballag-haderreen, Co Roscommon, when he called.
The court heard O'Brien checked into a hotel in Roscommon last weekend under a false name and stayed there a second night under his own.
Dett Sgt Godfrey said that he spoke to him after he checked into the hotel and told him he needed to inform gardai where he was going. O'Brien's solicitor John Casey said: "Unfortunately, there was front page media attention given to him after his last time in court."
Judge Durcan replied: "There is a breach of bail and I am issuing a bench warrant."To be fair to this man. I can see this for two points of view. It is difficult, very difficult for this man but the important thing is that he keep in touch with gardai wherever he is.
"If his concerns are genuine concerning media attention obviously, the court will adopt a lenient view."
SCENE Court in Ennis