A CONVICTED paedophile who kissed a 14-year-old girl on a train has now been fined for failing to complete an annual declaration advising the authorities of details including his address.
Daniel McCormick (28), with an address listed as Larne Road in Ballymena, committed the declaration offence in September last year.
He appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday via a video link from his solicitor's office for sentencing.
A prosecutor said the defendant was a registered sex offender subject to notification requirements which means he has to complete an annual registration up until 2023.
The prosecutor said that last September 8 the information was "four days late".
She said police had made several attempts to contact the defendant to remind him about registering his details and left a "calling card" and eventually he did make contact with the PSNI and completed the information.
The prosecutor said McCormick admitted the offence.
A defence solicitor said the defendant believed the review was in January each year and it had been a "simple oversight with no intent to mislead".
He said police were aware of McCormick's address and when the defendant saw the calling card he contacted officers immediately.
The lawyer said he was "glad to report" there had been no further "substantive" offences committed and the prosecution had helped to re-enforce to the defendant the "strict obligations" required by the court Orders he is subject to.
In January 2018 at Coleraine Magistrates Court a judge had told McCormick - then with an address listed as Glenrosa Link in Belfast - parents would be sickened by the way he groomed a 14-year-old girl.
At that court McCormick was put on probation for two years; was also placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for seven years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for five years.
McCormick had previously been found guilty in his absence of two charges of meeting a child following "sexual grooming" and intentionally engaging in "sexual touching" in December 2015.
The specifics of the grooming charge were that he communicated with the child on one or more occasions and met her, not reasonably believing her to be over 16.
A prosecutor had told the court in Coleraine that in December 2015 police received a report that a girl who was 14 at the time told her guardian that she was involved in a "sexual relationship".
The guardian told police she had been checking the girl's phone and noticed "inappropriate texts" and McCormick was on a contact list.
The teenager admitted "kissing on the train" with the defendant near Coleraine.
McCormick was arrested and phones and other items were seized. CCTV was also taken from a train platform and from the interior of a train which showed the defendant and the girl getting on the train and sitting together.
During a police interview, McCormick claimed he had gone to meet a friend and "by chance" met the girl and "gave her a hug" and he said he had "put his hand on her leg".
He also told officers that after getting off the train he "kissed her, on the platform, for about five minutes", claiming the kissing had been "consensual".
A defence barrister had told the Coleraine court the defendant was "vulnerable" and since 2015 there had been no further offences, but McCormick was moved from his accommodation by police because of a threat to him.
The defence lawyer had told the Coleraine court that although he was not trying to diminish the actions, in terms of the "actual assault", it was not near the top level of such offending.
The Coleraine Court judge had said the "astute work" of the girl's guardian "may have prevented this matter becoming more serious".
He told McCormick: "I think anyone hearing the facts of this case and anyone who is a parent or a grandparent, the very idea of you being 24, on a train, kissing a young girl of 14, would immediately lend anyone to conclude that I should send you to prison."
The judge added that the defendant had accepted his guilt and he had to weigh up what was the best way to ensure he does not reoffend.
The judge did not believe a two or three month prison term would achieve that and instead placed him on probation for two years with conditions and put him on the Sex Offenders' Register.
Under the terms of the SOPO which was imposed on him, McCormick was banned from having any contact with children under the age of 16 unless with the approval of social services or his designated risk manager.
There were also conditions regarding having any internet-linked device and a ban on using the internet to attempt to contact children and safeguards regarding working with young people.
The Coleraine judge had told the defendant: "You are very fortunate I'm not sending you to prison.
"If you breach that Probation Order then I will send you to prison for four months."
Sentencing the defendant for the 'notification' offence at Ballymena Court on Thursday, District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "These are important regulations but everything has a context, he was late by four days, and there doesn't appear to have been any significant effort by the defendant to frustrate his obligations under the Order.
"Hopefully he has learned a lesson and he must ensure that in future he complies fully with the important notification requirements he is subject to".
McCormick was fined £100.
- Main picture: McCormick pictured leaving a previous court in 2018.