A 26-year-old man who used his mobile phone to take pictures up a girl’s skirt in a Belfast bar has been given a suspended sentence.
Slovakian national Marian Antal, from Woodbreda Avenue in the Newtownbreda district in the south-east of the city, claimed he took the images as a bet.
Antal pleaded guilty to a single charge of committing an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency by taking photographs the female’s skirt.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins told Belfast Crown Court that on the evening of October 31 last year, Antal was drinking with friends in Benedict’s bar.
CCTV footage showed Antal putting his mobile phone up a girl’s skirt. He was seen to check his phone before repeating the action.
Mr Jenkins said Antal was then challenged by others in the bar. Door staff became involved, and he was handed over to police.
When his phone was checked by police, six images taken up the girl’s skirt were found.
During interview, Antal admitted taking the pictures, and said it was the result of a “stupid bet with a friend”.
Antal had a clear criminal record, and his defence barrister said his client was “extremely embarrassed and ashamed”.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Antal that given that the pictures seemed not to have been shared, and that he had no previous sex crime-related convictions, “I do not think it necessary to send you immediately to prison”.
He added: “However, for the protection of young woman from activities such as you engaged in, I intend to impose a two-month sentence, and these two months will be suspended for a period of two years.
“If you engage in this activity again, it is likely you will go to prison for it.”