December 16, 2020

Sex offender wanted in the US is granted bail by the High Court

Sex offender wanted in the US is granted bail by the High Court

A convicted sex offender wanted by US authorities to complete a sentence for attempting to groom a child online has been granted bail by the High Court.

Martin Jude Wall (45) was arrested in west Dublin last week after officials in the state of Georgia issued a warrant for his arrest.

He was convicted in 2012 of enticing a child for indecent purposes and his sentence included a 15-year parole period. He is alleged to have breached the conditions of his release by fleeing to Ireland.

This morning Wall, with an address in Clontarf, Dublin, applied for bail in the High Court which was objected to by gardaí.

Det Gda Robert Comerford, of the Garda Extradition Unit, argued that he was a flight risk who had breached his parole conditions by travelling to Ireland in early 2015.

The detective also said that, in conversations with Wall, the respondent said he was “adamant he wouldn’t go back” to the US.

The court heard that Wall faces a possible prison sentence of the balance of his remaining parole term which is currently 12 years and six months.

Det Gda Comerford accepted that Wall presented himself to gardaí after returning to Ireland and that he has since been living here openly while not coming to adverse garda attention.

He also said that Wall was subject to the sex offender register in this country after telling gardaí about his US conviction.

Mr Justice Paul Burns inquired if the offence on the warrant, making contact with a child, is a “grooming-style” offence, and was informed that it is.

The court also heard that the offence related to Martin Wall contacting a police officer who was impersonating a child.

Mr Justice Burns said that the respondent doesn’t have the presumption of innocence but that the court must be satisfied he represents a sufficient flight risk.

He added that the respondent was “undoubtedly a flight risk” facing an extremely significant sentence but said the court must determine if that risk can be mitigated with terms and conditions.

Mr Justice Burns noted that the accused told gardaí he left the US because he found himself in a hopeless situation, being homeless and unable to find work because of his conviction.

He said he was granting bail with some reluctance and attaching strict terms and conditions.

The respondent watched on via video-link from Cloverhill Prison where he has been held on remand since last week.

The terms of his bail include signing on daily a Clontarf garda station, a €1,000 cash lodgement, surrendering his passport and to observe a curfew.

Commenting after the arrest last week, Detective Superintendent Michael J. Mullen of the Garda Extradition Unit said: “This significant arrest coordinated by detectives attached to Organised and Serious Crime in partnership with USA authorities represents our ongoing commitment to ensuring persons wanted on foot of International arrest warrants are brought to justice”.

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