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Judge orders report after 'disturbing' approach to teen in toilet

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 teenage boy in public toilets.

A police officer told Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne at Londonderry Magistrates' Court that Joseph Galbraith, from Lisnavar Court in the Waterside area of Londonderry, approached the youth in the city's Foyle street bus depot on May 19 last year.

The court heard the defendant pretended to urinate beside the youth, then leaned towards him and said: "What do you have there, boy? Let me see it".

After the incident, the youth gave a description of the defendant, and a bus he had seen him boarding, to the police.

Officers stopped the vehicle at Glendermott Road, near Galbraith's home, and arrested him, after which he described the claims as "nonsense".

The case was scheduled to have been heard on February 20, but a defence solicitor said his client panicked on the day in question and left court before the matter could be dealt with.

Galbraith was convicted in his absence and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

The defendant turned up at court yesterday and admitted a charge of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

His solicitor said Galbraith was so drunk on the day of the offence, he had no memory of the incident which, the lawyer stressed, was purely verbal and involved no physical contact.

"He now realises there was a sexual element to what he has admitted to," the solicitor told the court.

"As a result of the conviction in his absence last month, he was automatically put on the sex offenders' register.

The judge said: "This is a deeply disturbing case, not only in terms of the facts involving a 17-year-old boy, but also by his (the defendant's) 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."

Galbraith was released on his own bail of £150 until sentencing on April 28, following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

As part of his bail conditions, the defendant was ordered not to have any unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18 years 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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