A homeless sex offender who police took to buy a Liverpool FC shirt and a KFC meal is to be released again from custody, a High Court judge ruled today.
David Raymond Blaney, 42, was granted bail over allegations he breached his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by failing to reside at approved accommodation after being freed from jail.
Defence lawyers claimed he had been wrongly charged when nowhere to stay could be found.
Blaney, of no fixed abode, initially got out of prison on May 24.
Despite efforts by police and his risk manager, no suitable accommodation was identified.
The court heard he had been taken to Housing Executive Offices in Lisburn to declare himself homeless and seek emergency shelter.
But he was assessed as not meeting eligibility criteria.
With no probation-run hostel available either, the “high risk” category three sex offender was also deemed ineligible to stay at either a hotel or B&B where there could potentially be children.
Less than three hours after his initial prison release, Blaney was arrested for breaching the terms of his SOPO.
By that stage police had also agreed to his request to take him to purchase a KFC meal and a Liverpool FC jersey.
Despite obtaining Magistrates’ Court bail, Blaney remained in custody pending a planned challenge by the Public Prosecution Service.
That appeal was withdrawn during an initial hearing at the High Court last week.
Blaney’s legal team, barrister Sean Mullan and solicitor Patrick Higgins, argued that the circumstances of the case meant the charge of breaching his SOPO “without reasonable excuse” should be dismissed.
Mr Justice Humphreys reached no determination on the legal merits of the prosecution.
However, with accommodation in Co Armagh now located, the judge confirmed Blaney is to be granted unconditional bail.
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