A Portadown sex offender who changed his address without informing the police has been sentenced to 120 hours community service.
And he was warned that if it happened again he would be going straight to prison.
Vytautas Mikulinas, (32), appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, with the assistance of a Lithuanian interpreter, charged with being a sex offender and failing to notify police to a change in home address.
The court was told that the defendant is a registered sex offender, subject to a requirement to notify police of any change of address within three days of the change, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
On December 22, 2021, the defendant had notified police of an address in Portadown. When police attended the address on February 21, 2022, they ascertained that he no longer lived there.
Police spoke to the defendant on the phone, who stated he was residing at a different address.
He was advised to attend a police station and notify his change of address. Over the following weeks, he failed to make the notification and numerous attempts were made to contact him on his phone. Voice messages and texts were left with no response.
On March 18, he was located at his place of work, where he was cautioned for the breach of the notification requirements.
Siún Áine Downey, defending, told the court that she had spoken to the defendant, who now realised the importance of notifying police when he changed address.
She explained that as he requires an interpreter, “an awful lot was lost in translation” when police were contacting him.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said that she did not accept language difficulties as a reason, as the original order and what would have been required of him would have been explained in his own language.
District Judge Kelly said that it was a “serious offence”, adding: “There is a very good reason why Sexual Offences Prevention Orders are placed on sex offenders, and it defeats the purpose of that if you can move address at will without notifying the police in advance.”
She imposed a community service order for 120 hours, informing the defendant that if he failed to cooperate with the order and the matter came back to court, he would be sentenced to “immediate custody”.
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