Sex offender convicted of 'cuddling and kissing' teenage girl at a hospital is jailed for breaching Sexual Offences Prevention Order

Sex offender convicted of 'cuddling and kissing' teenage girl at a hospital is jailed for breaching Sexual Offences Prevention Order

A SEX offender convicted of "cuddling and kissing" a 15-year-old girl at a hospital has been jailed for breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Mark Kennedy (34), formerly with an address at Carson Street in Larne, appeared via video link from prison at Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena.

A defence lawyer said Kennedy recently received a 14 months prison term, including six months in custody and eight on licence, at the Crown Court for another matter.

Kennedy had resided overnight at 'unapproved and unknown addresses' on occasions between December 22, 2021, and February 7 this year in breach of a SOPO.

On June 18, 2021, as a convicted sex offender he failed to make a notification regarding his name, home address and date of birth.

Meanwhile, Kennedy was in possession of Diazepam on October 22, 2018, outside a Belfast hotel where he had "collapsed" and was "in and out of consciousness".

On April 19 last year he stole items worth £4 from a shop at Ballynure.

On June 17 last year he stole bed linen worth £51 from B&M Bargains in Larne and on August 24, 2021, he took food items worth £10 from an 'Iceland' store in Larne when he "placed two packets of bacon down his trousers and a block of cheese".

A prosecutor said Kennedy had been convicted on June 14, 2021, and made the subject of a SOPO for five years.

One of the conditions was that he was prohibited from residing or staying overnight at any address without the prior approval of his 'Risk Manager'.

In December last year police were told by Probation and the Risk Manager that contact was unable to be made with Kennedy and no permission had been given for him to stay at any other address.

The prosecutor said Kennedy then claimed he had informed police. However, the prosecutor added, Kennedy couldn't remember the addresses or the dates.

The court heard that on June 20 last year police spoke to the defendant at an address in Larne and told him about the notification requirements but he had not done that by July 1 last year.

The prosecutor said when caught in connection with the Ballynure incident, Kennedy told police he "couldn't remember" taking items and that he had "returned to the store to apologise".

A defence barrister said in December 2019 Kennedy had been living at a hostel in Belfast and after injuring his ankle had gone to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The lawyer said Kennedy had ingested drugs "as had" a teenage girl in his company.

The barrister said she was "only 15" and when Social Services attended the hospital they saw Kennedy and the girl "consensually, as it were, cuddling and kissing".

Kennedy appeared at court via a video link from prison.

The defence barrister said "because of the nature of the offences" and Kennedy being "well-known" in the Larne area he had difficulty obtaining addresses and that was when he had not complied with his SOPO but subsequently did register his address.

Kennedy then had obtained an address in Greenisland, the court heard.

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter jailed the defendant for six months.