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Serial sex offender from Fife jailed for breaching strict mobile phone court order

Facebook Messenger logo. A serial sex offender has been jailed for breaking conditions around mobile phone use.
McCormack breached the order by using Facebook Messenger.

A serial sex offender who breached a strict court order banning him from having a mobile phone without telling the authorities claimed his mother had given him the device the day before.

Brendan McCormack must tell social workers of any device he owns which is capable of accessing the internet or sending messages.

However, an illicit phone was used on multiple occasions to access social media accounts before he was caught.

Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court the restrictions had been in place for more than two and a half years.

McCormack, a prisoner at Perth, admitted breaching a sexual offences prevention order imposed at Dunfermline Sheriff Court in June 2018.

He breached it on various occasions between February and April last year at Kirkcaldy train station and an address in the town.

‘I was going to tell my social worker’

Ms Apostolova said: “On February 24 2021, a Facebook Messenger application was used on that phone and there was an interaction between an account belonging to the accused and another account.

“Thereafter there appears to be the passage of over two weeks until the next time the phone was used on March 15, then another on March 28.

“The end date (in the charge) is the date the phone came into the possession of the police.

“When he was cautioned and charged he said: ‘I was going to tell my social worker. I got it from my mum yesterday’.

“That was on April 2 2021.”

Phone court order for serial sex offender

Serial offender McCormack was jailed in December 2018 after smuggling an underage girl into his hostel.

McCormack had previously been banned from having unsupervised contact with any females under the age of 16 without appropriate supervision.

He had already been twice been jailed for offences involving sexual activity with children when he was placed under an interim sexual offences prevention order in June 2018.

He formed a relationship with a “vulnerable” 15-year-old girl just days later and took her to his accommodation at the Wash Project in Glenrothes.

He was found guilty of two breaches of the order by a jury, imprisoned for 18 months and placed under supervision for a further nine.

Frustration

Solicitor Russel McPhate, defending on Monday, said the 23-year-old felt frustrated he was unable to have the same restriction-free life as his peers.

He said: “He had a mobile phone which police had taken in relation to other matters.

“He had been trying to get that back without success.

“Like many young people he likes to talk to his friends on social media so he borrowed the phone from his mother.

“He used it again on March 15.

“His mother then found she couldn’t use the phone and she asked him to fix it and said he could keep it.”

He said McCormack had managed to get the phone working again.

He said: “He’s frustrated at the difficulty of not being able to do what his peers do.

“He realises he needs to spend time doing what he’s supposed to do.

“He understands that any time he gets into trouble he’s going to have another set of conditions imposed.”

‘Lying doesn’t help’

Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane noted McCormack was not banned from having a phone or using the internet.

She said: “He can have all the things the others have, he just has to tell them (the social workers) about it.

“The lying about it doesn’t really help.”

She jailed him for 16 months.

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