27 Jun 2022

Convicted Irish sex offender to be extradited to US

Convicted Irish sex offender to be extradited to US

Convicted Irish sex offender to be extradited to US

An Irishman who was convicted of trying to entice a child for indecent purposes before fleeing home is set to be extradited to the United States.

The High Court previously heard that the girl's online profile was in fact constructed by detectives in Georgia, who arrested Martin Jude Wall (46) in a sting operation after he travelled to a meet-up he had arranged.

Wall (46) is wanted by the Chatham County Sheriff's office in Georgia after he allegedly breached the conditions of his release by fleeing to Ireland. If found guilty of the breach in America, Wall faces a possible activation of a 15-year sentence, which is the length of his probation.

In February 2012, Wall pleaded guilty through plea-bargain to attempting to entice a child for indecent purposes. He had sent messages and a nude photo of himself from his phone through a chat-group to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

However, the 2011 online profile of the girl was false and was constructed by detectives in Savannah city.

Delivering his judgment on Monday, October 11th, at the High Court, Mr. Justice Paul Burns said it was clear that the respondent believed or had the intention that he was communicating with and meeting with a 13-year-old girl for the purpose of child exploitation. 

"I am satisfied that not only was there sufficient mens rea [intent] but sufficient actus reus [elements of an offence] to constitute an attempt to commit the crimes," he said. Furthermore, the judge said there was no basis to refuse Wall's surrender on his fundamental rights or privacy grounds. 

In an application to the High Court for Wall's surrender, Mr. Mícheál P O'Higgins SC for the Minister for Justice, said that detectives created a "non-sexually suggestive" profile but that Wall tried to initiate the meeting, said he was "very good at massage" and repeatedly asking for photos.

Wall said in one message that he preferred "younger girls but I guess you're okay".

The barrister said that Wall initiated "sex talk" and that he suggested meeting the girl for sex acts.

Wall told the fake profile that he had a cheating wife and that he was looking to take revenge on her with the girl, who he told was "very hot, very hot".

One message from Wall read: "Are you going to have me arrested?"
 After sending the photo, Wall suggested that he and the girl should meet and detectives arrested Wall at the location.

Mr. O'Higgins said that when detectives asked Wall if he had had a conversation with a girl, he "froze" with the phone still in his hand.  

Detectives confirmed Wall's identity from the photo and his mobile phone was still logged into the group chat from where he was sending the messages.

As part of his sentence, he was detained for a period of not more than a year and not less than 240 days before being given a 15-year probation bond upon his release. 

However, after becoming homeless, Wall absconded the jurisdiction in 2014 and returned to Ireland.

US authorities confirmed in October 2019 that Wall, who is on the US list of registered sex offenders, was living in Crossmolina, Co Mayo. His last address listed at hearing was in Clontarf in Dublin.

His US arrest warrant was executed in November 2019 with the outstanding amount left on his probation standing at 12 years and six months.

Gardaí attached to the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) arrested Wall on December 8 of last year.

Opposing an application for surrender, Mr. Remy Farrell SC for Wall, said that the primary objection to his client's extradition was not based on prison conditions but on "life conditions" for Wall while on probation in the US, which he said amounted to a breach of human rights.

Mr. Farrell said that under the terms of being a registered sex offender in the US, Wall could not get work and was forced into homelessness after having to sell his house.

Counsel read from an expert report on the experience of sex offenders on probation in the US and said that Georgia had the "harshest regime" of all 50 States for released sex offenders.

Offenders on the register, which is publicly accessible, said Mr. Farrell, are forced to the fringes of society and cannot live or work within 1,000ft of any church, school, childcare facility or any area where it is known that children congregate.

The report said that the regime relegates those on the register to second class citizens and that many homeless camps contained many sex offenders and violent incidents.

Mr. Farrell said that there was a possibility that if Wall was extradited he would have to serve a portion of a sentence and that he then may be returned to probation.

The lawyer argued that this amounted to a breach of Article 3 of the Convention of Human Rights in that it was "inhuman and degrading".

Mr. Justice Burns then made an order directing Wall's surrender to the United States authorities. 

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