A Gilford man who pulled down the T-shirt of a teenage shop worker, exposing her breasts, has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
Robert Beattie (49), Hillcrest Villas, Gilford, was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for two years, for indecent assault on July 17 this year.
At a previous sitting of Banbridge Magistrates Court Beattie had admitted intentionally touching a female, that the touching was sexual and she had not consented.
The case was adjourned so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained. The injured party was in court as Beattie was sentenced and sobbed as the facts of the case were outlined.
The court heard that the victim was working in a store in Gilford when she was approached by the defendant who asked for cigarettes.
He pulled down the front of her T-shirt, exposing her breasts and said: “You have some rack on you.”
Beattie then asked her to come up to his house to give him sex and oral sex.
The court was told this all happened in the presence of a 10-year-old boy who had been buying sweets.
The injured party was in fear that he would return to the shop and do something like this again.
Beattie was located by police at a friend’s house and in the police vehicle on his way to the custody suite at Lurgan police station he said: “I used to drink with that girl’s father. I pulled her top down for a bit of fun.”
When interviewed he admitted he pulled her top down but said he had done it for a joke.
“I didn’t put my hands on her. I pulled at her clothes,” he said.
A solicitor representing Beattie said that from the outset he accepted responsibility for his actions.
She added that her client would apologise profusely and this was totally out of character for him.
The solicitor explained that Beattie’s mother had died in May and since then he had been drinking heavily. This incident happened after he had been drinking for the previous ten days.
She added that the defendant had sought help from his GP but he was not totally free from alcohol.
She asked the court to consider a suspended sentence for a man with no previous convictions who had accepted his responsibility.
District Judge Rosalie Prytherch said she could give the defendant credit for his plea and the fact he had no record.
But, she added, she could not ignore the circumstances that this young woman had been treated in a ‘totally outrageous and disgraceful way’ which left her feeling ‘very exposed and embarrassed’.
The judge said the courts had absolute no time for this sort of offence and it was a very serious matter which crossed the custody threshold.
Imposing the suspended sentence she also ordered that Beattie should be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Judge Prytherch ordered that Beattie should pay £250 compensation to the victim.
Speaking directly to the victim she said: “I recognise this was a very frightening and very nasty thing to have happened to you.”