Jail sentence for sex offender who failed to register he was at address in Antrim town

Jail sentence for sex offender who failed to register he was at address in Antrim town

A SEX offender who breached a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by failing to register that he was at an address in the Springfarm area of Antrim town has been given a six months jail sentence.

John Patrick Smyth (35), with an address listed on a charge sheet as Glenveigh Drive in Belfast, committed the breach in January this year.

He appeared via video link at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena.

A prosecutor said the eleven year long SOPO was granted at Craigavon Court in 2012 and it was varied at a court in Craigavon in 2017.

The SOPO prevented him from living in accommodation other than approved by his Designated Risk Manager and from entering into a 'relationship, either intimate or casual' without first informing his Risk Manager and disclosure of his offending being confirmed.

On January 26 this year police told him he was late with his notification of his address and two days later he had failed to update his details.

On January 29 police circulated him as being wanted for arrest and that day found him "hiding" in an address in Antrim.

The prosecutor said: "He attempted to conceal himself from police, only presenting himself to police when entry into the property was forced".

When arrested the defendant asked police to access his phone to retrieve phone numbers for him.

The prosecutor added: "Once the defendant's phone was turned on a number of text messages were received to the device".

The messages were from a female and were "of a romantic nature".

When interviewed the defendant admitted not registering with police and admitted he was "in a relationship with a female, however, he had not previously met up with her".

The court heard Smyth appeared at court in Belfast in January for a similar offence and had received a suspended sentence on that occasion.

A defence lawyer said there was "no excuse" for the Antrim offence but Smyth had been staying with a male friend "who had been struggling".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said Smyth had a "very poor record" with a "number" of previous entries relating to breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

The defendant was given a six months jail term and had bail in the sum of £500 fixed for appeal.