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Judge 'deeply disturbed' by case of man (62) making sexual comments to teen boy in Foyle bus depot toilets

By George Jackson

A judge has described as deeply disturbing the case of a 62-year-old man who admitted making sexual comments to a 17-year-old boy as the youth was urinating in the male toilets of a Londonderry bus depot.

A police officer told Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne at the magistrates court that last May 19, the police received a report from the youth that the defendant, Joseph Galbraith from Lisnavar Court in the Waterside area of the city had approached him in the toilet.

The defendant pretended to urinate beside the youth and leaned towards him and said "what do you have there boy, let me see it".

After the incident the youth saw the defendant boarding a bus. He gave details of the bus and of the defendant's description to the police. Officers stopped the bus at Glendermott Road near the defendant's home. They removed him from the bus and arrested him. Galbraith described the allegation as "nonsense".

The case was to have been contested last February 20 but a defence solicitor said on that day Galbraith panicked and left the court building before the case was heard. He was then convicted in his absence and a bench warrant issued for his arrest.

As a result of the warrant being issued Galbraith turned up in court on Friday and admitted a charge of an adult engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

His solicitor told Mr Browne that on the date of the offence Galbraith, who was an alcoholic, had consumed six glasses of whiskey. He said because he was so drunk Galbraith did not remember the incident which the solicitor said was purely verbal and which did not involve physical touching.

"He now realises there was a sexual element to what he has admitted to. As a result of the conviction in his absence last month he is automatically registered on the Sex Offenders' Register", the solicitor said.

The Deputy District Judge said such was the seriousness of the offence he was not going to sentence Galbraith without a pre-sentence report.

"This is a deeply disturbing case, not only in terms of the facts involving a 17- year-old boy but also by his behaviour in leaving the court last month. There is a real risk of this type of behaviour being repeated if this man does not address his addiction issues. This is a case which is crying out for a pre-sentence report because of its nature," he said.

Galbraith was released on his own bail of £150 until he's sentenced for the offence on April 28 following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

As part of his bail conditions Galbraith was ordered not to have any unsupervised contact with under 18-year-olds and not to be intoxicated in a public place. He was further ordered to continue to reside at his current address.

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