April 2011

Sex offender Ernest George Finlay has sentence reduced

rape

A high-risk sex offender who went missing and travelled to eastern Europe has had his jail sentence reduced.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Ernest George Finlay should now serve two years in prison for breaches of his sexual offences prevention orders.

Finlay, 56, from Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, was also given five years on licence after his release.

Finlay’s previous record contains 41 offences. Ten of these are for sexual matters and three are for breaches of Sopos. He was first convicted of a sexual offence for indecently assaulting a child in July 1973 when he received a suspended sentence.

The pervert was then handed a three-year prison sentence for assault with intent to rape and indecent assault in May 1982.

Finlay was convicted of rape in 1985, and jailed for three years. And in April 1988, he was convicted of assault with intent to rape.

In 1997 he was convicted of false imprisonment four counts of rape for which he was jailed.

Finlay was given an absolute discharge in 2004 after he admitted failing to provide information to police as per his Sopo.

He served a 14-year term for sex attacks on women working as prostitutes.

Following his release from jail he obtained a bogus passport in the name of his dead brother and made plans to travel abroad.

In 2008 he went into the Irish Republic, made enquires about buying a property in Bulgaria, and booked flights.

He then spent about 10 months in eastern Europe without obtaining the necessary permission.

Finlay was eventually arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for the breaches.

Although it was submitted that these did not involve any new sexual offences, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said on Friday: “The probation report prepared in relation to him recognises he is a devious, predatory and recidivist offender and noted the young age of some of his victims.”

Sir Declan also pointed out, however, that the maximum sentence for flouting a sexual offences prevention order was five years imprisonment.

He noted defence arguments that getting the passport, booking flights and travelling abroad were all part of the same breach.

“We have carefully considered the submissions and are persuaded that the appellant is correct in relation to that,” the judge said.

Sir Declan added: “The overall effect is the appellant will now serve two years in custody with an extension period of five years.”

July 2010

SEX FIEND ‘FLEW TO EUROPE ON DEAD MAN’S PASSPORT’ High-risk pervert was at large for more than a year.

A DANGEROUS pervert pretended to be a dead relative to get a passport before going on the run for more than a year, a court has heard. 

High-risk sex offender Ernest Finlay vanished from South Tyrone where he was supposed to stay at all times under the conditions of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, Dungannon Crown Court was told. 

But Finlay, 55, vanished in November 2008 and was not brought back to Northern Ireland until he was arrested in the Republic by gardai using a European Arrest Warrant. 

He first appeared in Dungannon Magistrates court in May this year, however the Daily Mirror revealed then he had been arrested in Cavan in September 2009 suspected of forgery, possession of a false passport and cheque fraud. 

Finlay, from Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone is a Category 3 offender defined as being considered to pose a “risk of serious harm to the public”. 

There are only around eight Category 3 offenders living in the community in Northern Ireland at the minute. 

On Monday, July 5, Finlay was arraigned and admitted breaching a Sopo on four occasions. 

He denied a charge of providing a statement to procure a false passport in the name of Robert Finlay. 

However, on Friday, July 9, Finlay changed his plea and admitted this charge also. 

It is understood he assumed the identity of a deceased relative to secure a passport in the name of Robert Finlay, although the court heard this would have had to be verified by a suitable person. 

Finlay’s previous record contains 41 offences.

Ten of these are for sexual matters and three are for breaches of Sopos. He was first convicted of a sexual offence for indecently assaulting a child in July 1973 when he received a suspended sentence

The pervert was then handed a three-year prison sentence for assault with intent to rape and indecent assault in May 1982. 

Finlay was convicted of rape in 1985, and jailed for three years. And in April 1988, he was convicted of assault with intent to rape. 

In 1997 he was convicted of false imprisonment four counts of rape for which he was jailed. 

Finlay was given an absolute discharge in 2004 after he admitted failing to provide information to police as per his Sopo. 

The latest offences, when Finlay is understood to have travelled from Dublin Airport to Europe in 2008 – where he remained at large for over a year, resulted in an international arrest warrant being issued to have him returned to Northern Ireland.

It is believed he spent time in Amsterdam. 

Under the terms of his Sopo, Finlay is prohibited from travelling outside the South Tyrone area without the express permission of the District Police Commander and the Multi Agency Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management body. 

He had breached the order in a similar manner on a previous occasion but the most recent is believed to be the longest he was at large. 

At Dungannon Crown Court Judge David McFarland remanded Finlay in custody while pre-sentence reports are prepared. He is due to be sentenced in September. 

Concerns have been raised as to how a dangerous and prolific sex-offender like Finlay was able to slip through the net so easily, not once but twice, the second occasion being more serious given his ability to travel to Dublin and board a flight, then remain at large in Europe. 

Category 3 is defined as “someone whose sexual offending has been assessed as currently likely to lead them to seriously harm other people”.