Belfast Telegraph

CCTV voyeur who spied on woman jailed for eight months

By John Cassidy

A police CCTV operator who used his work camera to spy on a woman in her apartment has been jailed for eight months.

Sentencing Ciaran McCleave (51), judge Paul Ramsey QC said he had spied on the victim for his own "sexual gratification''.

One of McCleave's daughters sobbed in the public gallery as he was led to the cells.

Earlier this year father-of-two McCleave, from Colinward Gardens in Newtownabbbey, stood trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Despite repeated denials, he was found guilty of misconduct in a public office, voyeurism and attempted voyeurism.

Judge Ramsey QC said McCleave had deliberately trained the camera on his victim's flat to catch her in a state of undress.

"This was a gross intrusion into the privacy of this woman for your sexual gratification," he added.

During the trial the jury heard how the alarm was raised by a colleague of McCleave's who noticed a camera operated by him had been aimed at the first-floor window of a north Belfast flat. The camera's default position was to monitor an interface, but the defendant used it to zoom in on the woman in the apartment.

As well as being found guilty of using the camera for an act of voyeurism, McCleave was also convicted of six counts of attempted voyeurism.

In all six occasions he had zoomed the same camera into the same woman's apartment.

The jury was also shown footage of cameras being used by McCleave zooming in on random women in Belfast.

Crown prosecutor Tessa Kitson told the court the victim "suffered a degree of serious harm as a result of the offences'' and that a doctor indicated "she has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder''.

Telling judge Ramsey that McCleave's actions were a "severe breach of trust'', Ms Kitson also spoke of the integrity of the CCTV system being undermined'.

Defence counsel Des Fahy spoke of his client's "excellent work ethic" and his strong and supportive family background, and said he came before the judge with no previous convictions.

He added that while the defendant still maintained he was innocent, he has "shown victim awareness and empathy".

The defence barrister said that McCleave had co-operated with the Probation Service, and he revealed that a probation report had concluded his client did not present a risk of harm to the public and that the risk of him reoffending would be low.

Mr Fahy also spoke to the court about the negative impact that the case has had on McCleave and on his family.

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