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Sex offender loses High Court challenge to being asked to keep a diary about his sexual needs

The high court in Belfast

A CONVICTED child sex offender has lost a High Court challenge to being asked to keep a diary of how he meets his sexual needs.

Desmond Deehan, whose crimes include kidnapping and indecent assault, claimed the Probation Board subjected him to a demand which breached his privacy.

But a judge in Belfast dismissed the 42-year-old's case after ruling that he is under no compulsion to comply.

Mr Justice McCloskey said: "It is, rather, an act of voluntary co-operation on his part."

Deehan, believed to be originally from Northern Ireland, has amassed 45 convictions, with his record also featuring gross indecency with a child.

His victims were girls aged five, seven and ten, as well as a 19-year-old female student, the court heard.

Sentenced to life imprisonment in England back in 1998, he was later transferred to a Northern Ireland jail.

He spent 16 years behind bars before being released on licence for a second time in January 2017.

Deehan issued proceedings over an alleged requirement by a probation officer to address his sexual offending behaviour.

Plans which involved keeping a written diary of how he meets his own private sexual needs left him shocked, he claimed.

Deehan stated: "I felt it was a huge invasion of my privacy and was a completely demeaning and embarrassing demand."

Lawyers representing the offender argued that it was neither proportionate nor necessary, and went beyond reasonable risk management.

They sought to judicially review the Department of Justice, contending that the decision breached Deehan's human rights.

In an affidavit his probation officer said the measure was designed to "identify risky thinking and behaviours that the offender will be able to address to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and causing harm to others".

He added that "sexual preoccupation" is a known risk factor.

Specialising in working with offenders like Deehan and trained in the assessment tool, the probation officer claimed the sexual needs question was the least intrusive that could be asked.

Discussing diary entries was aimed at building confidence and achieving greater transparency, the court heard.

But the probation officer insisted it was voluntary step, with no direction or requirement imposed on Deehan.

Rejecting the legal challenge, Mr Justice McCloskey confirmed: "The evidence, considered as a whole, satisfies the court that the impugned measure entails no compulsion for the applicant.

"The conclusion that the impugned measure does not interfere with the applicant's right to respect for his private life follows inexorably."

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