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Indecent act man placed on register of sex offenders

By Nevin Farrell

A man who dropped his trousers and engaged in a sex act in view of two boys has been placed on the sex offender register.

Michael Mark, from Hazelwood Terrace in Craigywarren, was also given two years' probation following a hearing at Ballymena Magistrates' Court.

The 52-year-old, who previously had a clear record, admitted exposing himself with the intention of causing alarm and distress.

The defendant engaged in the sex act on Currells Avenue on the banks of the River Braid, beside Ballymena Rugby Club, on August 22 last year.

A prosecutor explained to the court that police were contacted by a couple after they saw a man with his trousers below his knees engaging in a sex act.

The couple told police they had spoken to two boys aged around 11 who had also seen what happened. Officers have, however, been unable to trace the youngsters.

When interviewed by police, the defendant said he was off work on the day of the incident. He decided to get beer and vodka and stopped on Currells Avenue for a cigarette.

He denied he exposed himself and laughed while saying: "I can assure you that did not happen".

Mark admitted drinking half a bottle of vodka and four cans of beer, but denied he was drunk.

Despite his previous denials, he entered a guilty plea.

Defence barrister Stephen Law told the court that in all his time as a lawyer he had never read such a bleak probation report as that produced on his client. He added the document was "shockingly grim" and showed Mark had never been in a relationship and lived with his brother, who is recovering from a stroke.

District Judge Peter King said he took into account the submissions by Mr Law, the contents of the pre-sentence report, the defendant's clear record and his good work history. He also noted that he normally led a quiet life caring for his brother.

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