The convicted rapist, David Sidney Cahill, has left Mosside after his home was attacked by stones and his car was burned out last week.
Cahill (37), of Community Walk in the village had sought to keep his identity hidden despite committing a string of sex offences. However in a written submission to District Judge Liam McNally at Coleraine Magistrates Court last week, lawyers for Cahill unsuccessfully argued that if his offending came to light his life could be in danger from loyalist paramilitaries.
They based this on reports which alleged that another convicted sex offender was injured after being shot by loyalists in the Ballycastle area earlier this year. They said that as Cahill’s home was not far away, he too could come under attack.
However, in a written submission the Belfast Telegraph’s lawyers said courts have to be open and the public had a right to know about Cahill’s behaviour.
A police sergeant told the court she could offer no evidence of a “specific risk” to Cahill, but it was her view that there was always a “generic” risk to any registered sex offender.
Judge McNally ruled in the Telegraph’s favour, saying there was substantial case law stating openness was an important principle of justice. He agreed there may be a “generic risk” to Cahill but found no evidence of a “real and immediate risk” to the defendant.
Cahill had previously pleaded guilty to using an unregistered mobile phone between November last year and May 16 this year in breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which as a registered sex offender he was governed by. He was jailed for four months, but was released from court pending an appeal.
Earlier, prosecution lawyer Rhonda Boyd told the court Cahill was deemed a level one sex offender and had been convicted of rape in 2000. Prior to that he had a record for “indecent behaviours”.
Since his release from jail for rape, she said Cahill had “been of concern” to the authorities.
Ms Boyd said that under the terms of the Sexual Offences Prevention Order, Cahill was only allowed a mobile phone if it was registered with his risk manager, and police had the right to inspect its contents.
However, Cahill attempted to bypass that by using an internet-enabled phone belonging to his elderly bed-bound mother, unbeknown to her. He is her registered carer.
Ms Boyd said the PSNI was informed by Scottish police earlier this year that a male was using an internet sex chatroom linked to an offender they were monitoring and he was using a telephone number which was registered to Cahill’s mother.
Cahill later admitted to police he used the phone to access sex chatrooms but denied using his mother’s mobile to avoid detection.
Defence lawyer Francis Rafferty said there was no suggestion of Cahill going into the internet sex chatroom for “grooming or anything of a more reprehensible nature”.
He said Cahill now had contact with Nexus, an organisation that provides counselling for the victims of sexual violence, and had been moved from a category one to a category two risk.
Jailing Cahill, Judge McNally said he had an “appalling” record.