Sex abuser facing jail term

Gerard Judge
Gerard Judge

A businessman convicted of historic child sex charges will be sentenced today (Thursday).

Gerard Judge (61), who appeared in the dock at Craigavon Crown Court on Tuesday for sentencing, was remanded in custody.

Following his conviction in October Judge had been remanded on bail awaiting sentencing.

He was convicted by a jury of eight offences dating back 35 years against a schoolboy, aged around 14 at the time.

County Court Judge Patrick Kinney said he needed time to consider the submissions made by both the prosecution and the defence.

It emerged in court that Judge, whose address was given as Millbrook Court, Lurgan, had attempted to take his own life since his conviction.

Defence counsel Gavan Duffy QC said his client had also made a previous attempt in 2013 - when the matter was first brought to the police - after graffiti and comments appeared in public.

Prosecuting counsel Charles McCreanor QC said a victim impact report concluded that the victim is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and that the harm caused by the abuse had been at a “very severe level”.

The victim worked part-time in the Yachtsman bar in Woodhouse Street, Portadown, which was then run by Judge.

The abuse took place there and at a car park in Maghery between April 1980 and April 1983.

Judge had denied the seven charges of indecent assault on a male and one charge of attempted buggery of a boy under 16.

In his summing up, Mr McCreanor QC said the prosecution had highlighted a number of aggravating factors. “This was a young child between the ages of 13-14, in the course of his first employment in a relationship of trust,” he said.

“There was planning involved, a build-up in the level of the abuse and a grooming factor.

“The assaults were repeated and occurred over a protracted period.”

He acknowledged that the defendant had no previous convictions, the lapse of time since the offending and that the Probation Service had judged the risk of re-offending to be at medium level.

Addressing the judge, Mr Duffy QC said the offences took place “half a lifetime” ago when Gerard Judge would have been in his mid-20s and since then he had married, had four children, run a number of businesses and “had contributed to the local community and society in general”.

He added, “He has raised his family in a very successful way and has led a decent and blameless life. He has never before faced the reality of imprisonment. Mr Judge is aware of the serious nature of these offences and while he is prepared for prison, he is very concerned about the impact on his wife and children, and on his own mental health.”

Judge Kinney said he would consider the submissions and sentence the defendant on Thursday.