Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 18:30 UK

Suspected paedophile on the run

Paulnacha O'Mairthini
Mr O'Mairthini is believed to have travelled back to Ireland

A suspected paedophile extradited from Ireland to face charges in Scotland has gone on the run after a sheriff in Perth had no option but to grant bail.

Paulnacha O'Mairthini, 41, from County Louth, was due to face 10 charges which he denies, relating to the sexual abuse of boys and supplying them with drugs.

However the case had to be called off after the High Court in Perth was informed he had fled back to Ireland.

Judge Lord Philip has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Mr O'Mairthini - formerly a manager of child care resources at Orkney Islands Council - was extradited towards the end of February last year.

He was initially remanded in custody on 26 February, after appearing in private on a petition at Perth Sheriff Court.

But just days later he applied for a bail review and was granted his freedom by Sheriff Robert McCreadie after the Crown failed to oppose his release.

'No explanation'

Bail was granted on the condition that he surrendered his passport

However, at the High Court, Lord Philip pointed out that Mr O'Mairthini did not need a passport to return to Ireland.

He then apologised to about 40 members of the public who had turned up at the court for jury duty and issued a warrant for Mr O'Mairthini's arrest.

The accused's counsel, Tim Niven-Smith, said: "He has not graced us with his attendance this morning.

"I have no explanation to proffer to the court for his non-attendance and I find it somewhat surprising he's not here, given the procedural history to date, and a phone call he made to my instructing solicitor's office last Wednesday."

Lord Philip then asked Advocate Depute Alan Mackay, prosecuting, if the Crown had opposed the sheriff's decision to grant bail.

Mr Mackay said he did not know, although it is believed the Crown did not oppose it.

A number of the alleged offences took place in the 1990s, while Mr O'Mairthini was a supervisor at a holiday activity centre in Perthshire and on trips to New York.

The law in relation to bail in Scotland has changed in December and any decisions on bail and bail conditions are now taken by the court alone.

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