A paedophile originally from Manorcunningham wants to be deported to Ireland in order to manipulate a legal loophole that would possibly see him leaving prison early.
James Brennan (58), who is locked up in HMP Leyhill in England, was handed his prison sentence in February 2012; a mere seven months before the IPP terms were scrapped.
The IPP terms, introduced in 2005, allowed the detention of prisoners for as long as they were considered a threat to society with a possibility of re-offence.
As his sentence was handed down before the scrapping of the terms (before September 2012), the terms are still valid in Brennan’s case – allowing prison officials to keep Brennan in jail indefinitely until he can convince parole officials that he has been rehabilitated and is no longer a threat to vulnerable young women.
Brennan, who opened the Movie Star Café lap-dancing club in Belfast in 2002, had previously been jailed in 2016 for sexual grooming a minor, but upon his release in 2007 he went straight back to grooming young girls on the internet.
In 2012, Teeside Crown Court heard how Brennan posed as a Spanish model agency boss in order to lure in vulnerable, young girls online.
The court heard of how he lured a 13 year old girl to a hotel room in Durham and encouraged her to drink vodka and then attempted to have sex with her. However the girl vomited and Brennan was arrested soon after.
Last week he complained saying that as he is an Irish citizen he should be sent to an Irish prison as a “foreign national” – something he has been fighting for since 2008.
Although the North had a similar scheme to the IPP, called Interdeterminate Custodial Sentences, that too was scrapped in 2005.
The Republic of Ireland has no such terms in place to keep prisoners with a possibility of re-offending behind bars.
If he were transferred to an Irish prison, he would have a better chance of release.
Speaking to magazine ‘Inside Time’, Brennan said that ‘I have been listening to MPs and others going on about how Britain must decrease the number of foreign prisoners in her prisons… it is hard to listen to this when I and dozens, maybe hundreds, of my countrymen have been trying to get deported for years’.
He goes on to state that ‘an agreement between the Irish and English government in 2007 seems to be the barrier… the UK and Eire agreed not to deport Irish prisoners. The excuse given was that the border is too soft so any Irish person deported from the UK could come back. That argument only holds water if the deportee is forced to leave. Many Irish prisoners would never want to come back and we are happy to agree not to do so’.
The Prison Service said the release of prisoners serving IPP sentences was a matter for the Parole Board.