Belfast Telegraph

Thug who cut ex with sword loses judicial review battle

Judicial review proceedings were brought against the Department of Justice and a County Court judge who upheld the decision to grant the order (stock photo)
Judicial review proceedings were brought against the Department of Justice and a County Court judge who upheld the decision to grant the order (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A man jailed for imprisoning and lacerating his ex-girlfriend with a Samurai sword has lost a legal challenge to having a Violent Offences Prevention Order (VOPO) made against him.

Thomas Pearce was one of the first people in Northern Ireland subjected to the restrictions aimed at protecting the public.

High Court judges rejected claims that the VOPO breached his human rights.

Pearce, whose age and current address were not disclosed, was made subject to a VOPO for a two-year period in 2017.

It followed convictions for a catalogue of offences, including crimes committed against a former girlfriend. Pearce was convicted of breaking into her home, lacerating her upper leg twice with a Samurai sword, false imprisonment and threats to kill.

He was sentenced to three and a half years' jail, with the first interim VOPO made at the time of his release in April 2017.

The order banned him from any contact with the injured party and residing at an address without prior approval. He was also barred from forming a relationship with any woman without disclosure of his offending.

Judicial review proceedings were brought against the Department of Justice and a County Court judge who upheld the decision to grant the order.

It was contended the move contravened the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), but Lord Justice McCloskey held that the VOPO is a preventative attempt to influence and control future events.

Dismissing the challenge, he said: "We have reached the conclusion that the impugned VOPO is not a penalty within the meaning and embrace of (the) ECHR."

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