Belfast Telegraph

Pensioner rapist Eamon Foley tells court he was under no legal obligation to contact police

By Alan Erwin

A notorious rapist jailed again for failing to make annual contact with police was under no legal obligation to comply with the condition, he told a court.

Eamon Foley claimed re-notification requirements do not apply to him because the law was brought in after he was found guilty of attacking a 91-year-old woman.

The 57-year-old, of Drennan Road in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, is appealing his latest conviction in connection with the breach.

Foley served half of a 16-year prison term imposed for raping the pensioner at her mobile home on the outskirts of the village in 1999. She died several weeks later.

In 2008 he was released from jail under strict monitoring by police.

A further 12-month sentence was imposed earlier this year following the failure to make an annual re-notification of his name, date of birth and address to the authorities.

On the eve of his release from custody, prison guards escorted him into the Court of Appeal in Belfast for the bid to overturn that conviction.

Representing himself, Foley set out a series of grounds of challenge, including complaints about the jury selection process, insufficient time to prepare his defence and an unfair trial process.

Central to his case, however, is a claim that the annual re-notification requirement imposed under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 does not apply to him.

Referring to previous legislation from 1997, he contended that no such condition featured.

"I was under the old law, " he insisted.

Following further exchanges the three appeal judges adjourned the hearing due to an issue about whether the requirement can be applied retrospectively.

Lord Justice Treacy asked prosecution counsel for written submissions on its compatibility with human rights legislation.

"This is an important point in this case, and potentially other cases as well," he said.

Before rising the judges advised Foley to reconsider his stance on refusing to be represented by any lawyers because of the complexity of the legal point.

But turning down the recommendation, he insisted that he was "well able" to argue his case.

He claimed: "I have had too many solicitors that act for the system, not for me."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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