Paedophile Priest Released for Funeral

January 25, 2012

A convicted paedophile priest from Lisburn has been granted compassionate bail for 24 hours to allow him to attend the funeral of a family member.

James Martin Donaghy, 53, has been in custody since December 15 - when he was convicted by a jury of a litany of sex crimes against two altar boys and a trainee priest over a period of 17 years.

During his trial, Belfast Crown Court heard how Donaghy had told one of his victims that a priest's vow of celibacy was "only man-made rules and it's up to your conscience".

Donaghy was not in court on Wednesday as the application for bail was made, but Judge Patrick Lynch QC ruled that he could be released from 2pm until after the funeral on Thursday.

He also ordered Donaghy to sign his own bail of £500 and to have two sureties of £750 each.

One of the those placing the sureties, Mr David Magee, was called to confirm that he would collect Donaghy from the prison, remain with him at all times and have him stay overnight at his home.

Defence lawyer Ciaran Harvey told the court that Donaghy's family feared the press would use the opportunity to get photographs of him, adding that "one would hope that lessons have been learnt from the Leveson enquiry and that they would not encroach on a private ceremony".

After the funeral of a sister, Donaghy will be returned to custody to await his sentencing next month.


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