Belfast Telegraph

Former DUP aide faces court over camera fitted in toilets

By Paul Higgins

A former DUP adviser has appeared in court on voyeurism sex charges.

David McConaghie (49), a former church minister and adviser to David Simpson MP, was in the dock yesterday where he was charged with voyeurism by using a camera which was found in the toilets of the politician's constituency office.

Appearing in the dock of Craigavon Magistrates Court in a dark grey suit, shirt and tie, McConaghie spoke only to confirm that he understood the single charge against him.

He is accused of voyeurism on dates between January 1, 2012 and September 12, 2012 in that he allegedly "installed equipment, or constructed or adapted a structure or part of a structure with the intention of enabling yourself or another person to observe, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, a third person doing a private act, knowing that the third person did not consent to being observed for that purpose".

No facts of the case were outlined yesterday but it is understood discovery of the recording device was reported to the police by David Simpson when he found the camera in his constituency office in Portadown.

A police constable told the court he knew the facts of the case and believed that he could connect him to the charge. A prosecution lawyer asked that given the charge, if the Public Prosecution Service could be allowed eight weeks "to prepare a full file".

As McConaghie's solicitor had no objection to that, the lengthy adjournment was granted by District Judge Mervyn Bates.

As there was no objection to bail, the judge released McConaghie on his own bail of £500 and barred him from contacting any staff member at the DUP advice office in Portadown and from owning or possessing any mobile phone or other device "capable of making video recordings".

He told McConaghie he was granting the eight-week adjournment to allow the prosecution "to get together" in what was described as a complicated case.

McConaghie, from Cottage Hill in Dollingstown, is also a member of the Free Presbyterian Church, a prominent spokesman for a religious foundation and had been an election agent for Mr Simpson, the DUP MP for Upper Bann.

He had trained to become a minister within the Free Presbyterian Church, which was started by the recently deceased Reverend Ian Paisley, and had previously been a minister in the Elim Pentecostal Church.

In a statement released at the time, police said: "On September 25, police received a report of an incident at premises in the Thomas Street area of Portadown." McConaghie was ordered to come back to court on November 19.

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