Criminal Law: Judge lifts convicted paedophile’s park ban

Criminal Law: Judge lifts convicted paedophile’s park ban

Claiming it breached his human rights to prevent him from exercising in public spaces, convicted paedophile Christopher Williams successfully appealed to the courts to overturn a court order that prevented him from entering local parks where children play.

Mr Williams, currently residing in a probation hostel in Carlisle, was convicted and jailed in 1996 for molesting a 12-year-old boy.

After his seven-year imprisonment, he was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which stopped him from going to public parks and play areas in order to limit his contact with children.

But Mr Williams claimed that as he suffers from a heart condition as well as asthma and arthritis he should be entitled to use his local park for exercise.

Judge Andrew Woolman ruled that Mr Williams could use the park on weekdays at a specified time, not during school holidays but not anywhere near the play area. He also permitted Mr Williams to use the local golf course on weekdays in term time.

Judge Woolman said: “We recognise the possibilities for exercise under the existing regime are very restrictive.

“It would be oppressive to leave the orders as they are.”

He added: “If we did not allow him, it would probably be a breach of his human rights.”

Child safety campaigners have expressed their anger with the ruling. Rosie Carter, of child protection charity Childsafe, said: “As a charity we do despair of this decision. When that individual was risk-assessed they thought he would possibly molest children and that’s why he was banned from entering parks and play areas.

“It’s truly appalling. They mention his human rights, but the welfare of children is paramount in English law.”

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