In Brief

Man who must tell police before he has sex 'is now homeless'

John O'Neill claims sexual risk order has hit his ability to work or to claim benefits and left him living rough

A man who must inform police before he has sex says he has been forced into homelessness.

John O'Neill claims he is living rough in woods on the outskirts of York because the sexual risk order (SRO) placed on him earlier this year controls his use of communications devices. 

He also told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme the order has prevented him from working or claiming benefits.

North Yorkshire Police sought the SRO after O'Neill was acquitted of rape last year. Although it would not comment on this specific case, the force said it would only take such action to "protect the public from the risk of sexual harm".

The order means O'Neill, who has admitted an interest in sadomasochism and used to visit fetish clubs, must give police 24 hours' notice before having sex with any new partner. A court will decide today whether to make it permanent.

O'Neill claims the SRO was imposed because police misinterpreted remarks made by the judge in his rape trial, says the BBC.

He adds that it also includes a provision that he must make any communications devices he uses, such as computers or telephones, available to the police and says this has prevented him from applying for jobs which would entail using those devices.

O'Neill claims he was advised to declare himself unavailable for that sort of work, which means he is no longer entitled to Universal Credit, despite being willing to do manual labour.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We don't recognise this account of events but would urge Mr O'Neill to contact us as soon as possible if he does want our help to get back into work."

O'Neill also claims that because he is not claiming benefits, he is not eligible for legal aid and has had to represent himself in court.

The 45-year-old is a former mature English Literature student, says the Daily Telegraph, and a single father of two. He told the BBC last month that he has lost touch with his children since the SRO was imposed.

He also argues that the order means he has no prospect of forming a relationship and so breaches his human rights.

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