A convicted paedophile accused of defying a ban on being near a children’s play park said he was only there to view vintage cars, the High Court heard this week.
As previously reported in the Herald, Robert John Liddle, 70, allegedly breached a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) by going to Castle Archdale Caravan Park last month.
A witness claimed Liddle, of Moorlough Road in Lisnaskea, was sitting with an ice cream watching children in the area.
During a bail application prosecution counsel James Johnston said that the accused has been described as someone who tries to “push the boundaries” over what he can get away with. The court was told Liddle has a “disturbing” record, with more recent offences including looking up the skirts of schoolgirls in a Belfast supermarket.
He previously breached the terms of his SOPO by going into a retail store outside permitted times.
The latest alleged offence involved being within 30 metres of a children’s play park and a marina frequented by youngsters on June 16.
“His explanation was that he had been there to look at vintage cars in display,” Mr Johnston said.
“This is a situation where the applicant is choosing to ignore what is expected of him.”
Defence barrister Heather Phillips said Liddle went to Castle Archdale with his dog, unaware there would be such a family focus in the area. “He was there to attend a classic car show,” she contended. Ms Phillips insisted there was no inappropriate contact alleged against her client.
An encounter with a woman and her daughter while he walked his dog was “simply a case of passing the time of time”, counsel added.
Granting bail, Lord Justice Treacy said he had been about to refuse the application until shown a letter from Liddle’s ex-policeman brother pledging to act as a surety.
The judge also imposed a condition that the accused must notify his designated risk manager about any trips he plans to make.
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