Convicted child rapist loses legal battle over return to jail

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A convicted child rapist who allegedly intended to “get off his head and have sex on the day of his release” has lost a legal battle over being returned to jail within hours.

Brandon Rainey, 23, challenged the Department of Justice for ordering his recall amid fears he had taken drugs and posed an increased danger to the public.

But the Court of Appeal in Belfast rejected claims that the decision was unlawful because he was denied an opportunity to dispute the facts and allegations relied upon.

Lord Justice Treacy said: “That is manifestly not the case.

“The appellant had the benefit of a two-day oral hearing within which those material facts were challenged.”

In 2015 Rainey was jailed for the rape, sexual assault and attempted rape of a 12-year-old girl when he was aged 17.

The victim’s mother caught the pair in bed together after they had exchanged social media messages.

Rainey was sentenced to two years in custody followed by an extended four year period on licence.

On April 1, 2016 he was released on those licence arrangements, only to be recalled to prison around five hours later.

The Department took the decision following requests and recommendations from the Probation Board and a Parole Commissioner.

Rainey had been assessed as posing a high likelihood of re-offending.

He was regarded as one of 20 in the most serious Category 3 offender group in Northern Ireland - with only three of them at liberty.

Reference was also made to a further exposure offence committed while he was in custody.

A range of accommodation options considered in the run-up to his release on licence were considered unsuitable.

Housing him with relatives in Ballymena, Bangor and Lurgan was ruled out, while no consent was provided for a possible referral to a secure personality disorder facility in England.

Hostel arrangements were deemed too risky after Rainey alleged issued a threat to slash other residents or staff, the court heard.

Instead, a plan was developed which involved him going immediately to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to see if any appropriate accommodation could be found.

But on the day of his release the prison claimed he had “accessed substances and had been under the influence overnight”.

Rainey was also said to have refused a drugs test, stating that he had taken cannabis and would fail due to taking cannabis.

In the recall request a Probation Service area manager set out that the prisoner “stated that it is his intention to ‘Get off his head and have sex on the day of his release’.

“Mr Rainey has already achieved the first of these.”

Based on the information provided, the Department decided he must be returned to custody because the increased risk could not be safely managed in the community.

Rainey claimed he was entitled to automatic release on licence and denied being under the influence of illicit substances on the day he left prison.

His lawyers argued that the recall was unlawful and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

They mounted an appeal after the High Court dismissed his original application for judicial review.

Upholding the original verdict, senior judges rejected all grounds of challenge.

Lord Justice Treacy indicated that a prisoner would have to establish bad faith, actual and demonstrable factual error or irrationality.

“None of these features are present in the instant recall decision (or are argued for) and therefore that decision is lawful,” he said.

“For the above reasons the appeal is denied.”