Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Sex offender failed to report to police in Carlisle

A homeless sex offender who failed to report to the police in Carlisle on an agreed date has been fined.

Magistrates heard how John David Wharton, 35, was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register after he attacked a 22-year-old woman in 1997, grabbing her from behind and asking her for sex.

The woman eventually fought off Wharton, who was later convicted at the Old Bailey in London of false imprisonment and indecent assault.

In 2009, the defendant was given a jail sentence for failing to tell police his movements and he was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Since moving to Carlisle, Mrs Jackson, prosecuting at the city’s magistrates’ court, said Wharton had no fixed address and in such cases sex offenders are obliged to report to their local police station every seven days.

He had been due to report to the police on April 25, but did not do so until April 29.

Keith Thomas, for Wharton, said the defendant, who had not been in trouble for five years, had decided to leave his previous home in Sussex because he had been a victim of burglaries and abuse.

“He came to Cumbria in March,” said the barrister. Wharton had intended to live at the city’s John Street hostel but when officials there became aware of his past convictions he was not allowed in.

“He registered, and this is confirmed by the police, as being of no fixed abode, and signed [with the police] on April 5, April 11, and April 18.”

The offence happened, said Mr Thomas, because Wharton was arrested and kept in custody at the police station for two days. After being released without charge he assumed his next reporting date would be seven days after that.

“He thought that the time would start again after his release,” said Mr Thomas. “As a matter of law, it does not – and that’s his mistake.

“So he went to sign at the police station on April 29.”

Mr Thomas described his client’s failure as a “one off,” and a technical breach of the sex offender reporting rule.

District Judge Gerald Chalk told Wharton: “The Sex Offenders’ Register is an essential tool for the police to maintain surveillance of offenders and when a person is of no fixed abode it’s essential that the police be aware of that.

“Those rules exist for a very good purpose.”

He accepted that Wharton’s failure to comply with his registration requirement, which he admitted, was a technical breach and fined him £110, with costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.


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