Man deemed ‘danger to children’ bailed

Londonderry Courthouse on Bishop Street
Londonderry Courthouse on Bishop Street

Additional restrictions have been slapped on a 33-year-old man deemed by a judge to “a danger to children” as he was granted bail today.

District Judge Barney McElholm said his hands were tied in the case of Joseph McCauley from Ravenswood in Antrim, because he had been previously bailed despite allegedly exposing himself to a child in Limavady.

McCauley appeared before this morning’s (Saturday) sitting of Derry Magistrate’s Court on a fresh charge of breaching a sexual offences notification requirement, namely that he had failed to notify police he had moved from Antrim to Limavady.

The court was told that this fresh charge related to the previously heard alleged incident in which the defendant is alleged to have indecently exposed himself to a seven-year-old girl while on a bicycle in the Limavady area on Tuesday past.

Outlining the circumstances which led to the fresh charge, a PSNI Detective Constable said that on Easter Tuesday police received a complaint from a family that their seven-year-old daughter had been approached by a male on a bicycle, who pulled down his trousers and exposed his male organ.

The court was told that the young girl ran home to tell her mother and that the family contacted police and tried to locate the alleged culprit.

The Detective Constable said that the young girl later identified McCauley as the suspect to her family via the internet.

The family then phoned police and relayed this information to them.

It later transpired that Mr McCauley had been residing with his on-off girlfriend for a number of weeks in the Limavady area, and not at his previous address in Antrim.

He was arrested in the Antrim area on Friday afternoon in relation to the failure to notify charge and said he had been in Limavady approximately three and a half to four weeks.

Police said that McCauley claimed he had come up to the County Derry town to look after his girlfriend, whom he said had the flu.

The defendant’s solcitior questioned the relevance of some of the information being given to the court, as he said the defendant was only appearing at this particualr hearing on the charge of failing to notify the address change, but the details were deemed relevant.

It was also pointed out that his client had already received bail in relation to the indecent exposure charge, and that he had given up the information about moving address to Limavady freely to police.

He said his client accepted there was no reason why he hadn’t told police about this.

A spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service said bail on the failure to notify matter was being opposed because police would have concerns about McCauley travelling over the border.

Police confirmed his license was revoked last year in relation to a similar charge of exposure to a child, and the detective constable said her main concern was that he would reoffend.

The Detective Constable said she was also concerned that this was allegedly “a well planned series of events”.

McCauley’s solicitor told the court that his client had since moved back to his own address and would submit to more stringent bail conditions. These, he said, would include electronic tagging.

Judge McElholm said: “I find my hands are tied given he has bailed on the other offence.”

He added: “Quite frankly I consider this man to be a danger to children.

“As far as tagging him, If I could chip and pin him I would.”

He reiterated however that his hands were tied in this case.

The judge granted bail of £1,000, with McCauley ordered to observe a curfew between 6.30pm and 6.30am, to be tagged, to report daily to police in Antrim, to stay away from Limavady except to attend court or police station and then to take the most direct route in and out to the court or the station.

McCauley was also ordered not to loiter in the vicinity of schools, playgrounds, leisure facilities, “or other areas where children normally frequent”.

“Any breach of bail and he will land in custody,” Mr McElholm warned.

McCauley was ordered to appear before Limavady Magistrate’s Court on May 26th.