‘No proof’ that aide filmed for gratification

Former aide David McConaghie arrives at Craigavon Court on Monday charged with voyeurism. Pic by Pacemaker.
Former aide David McConaghie arrives at Craigavon Court on Monday charged with voyeurism. Pic by Pacemaker.

A claim that there was no proof that a former DUP aide secretly filmed females for his sexual pleasure halted the trial of David McConaghie on Monday at Craigavon Court.

A barrister representing McConaghie handed in submissions to the court alleging the prosecution had not addressed one of the elements of the charge - that he carried out the act for sexual gratification.

He said there was no corroborating evidence from the two phones taken from the defendant, his computer or his search history.

The lawyer added that in interview no questions were put to him about sexual gratification.

The charge against McConaghie, (50), Cottage Hill, Dollingstown, alleges that between August 22, 2102, and September 13, 2012, for the purposes of sexual gratification he recorded another person doing a private act knowing that the other person did not consent.

When the case resumed on Monday the last prosecution witness was called and she corroborated previous evidence of the hidden camera found in the bowl of potpourri in the DUP office in Portadown.

She told how initially McConaghie supplied a wicker basket for the toilet, followed by a square bowl made of delph. Finally he brought a round one made of delph and the wicker basket disappeared.

The witness said that she and a colleague decided to replace the potpourri and when her work-mate poured out the potpourri from the round bowl a ‘little black device’ fell out. It had a tiny red light and a tiny green light.

The bowl was filled with the new potpourri and put in the toilet. Shortly after this McConaghie said he needed to get into the toilet and seemed very agitated.

She added that he came down to the office and seemed very nervous and was pacing around her colleague’s desk as if he was looking for something.

The witness told how the plastic bag containing the old potpourri was put in a waste bin and paper put on top of it. When she came in the next morning it was clear someone had gone through the bin. The paper placed there the night before had been moved.

She said that someone had also gone through the bowl in the toilet because there were pieces of potpourri all over the floor.

Videos from the hidden camera were shown for the first time.

One was from September 5, 2012, and just showed darkness. The prosecutor explained the significance was this was to show that it was on because one hour five minutes later the private act carried out by an individual was captured.

This video was shown in chambers to the judge but not in open court.

The prosecutor said this showed the injured party in a state of undress.

Another video showed the defendant in the toilet, seemingly setting the camera.

The prosecutor said McConaghie is seen kneeling down moving the object before flushing the toilet and washing his hands. Before leaving he further tweaks at the item.

A public prosecutor said in this case they were dealing with a gentleman with no mental health issues who had been given every opportunity to put forward a case in interview but gave no comment interviews.

He would ask the question why the defendant was recording the act if not for sexual gratification.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said the defence argument was that there was no evidence that the defendant carried out the act for sexual gratification.

The judge said he was going to have to consider the defence application carefully and would have to adjourn the case at this point.

The case will resume on Wednesday, August 26.