Man who took photos up girl's skirt 'for bet' avoids jail
A man who used his phone to take photos up a girl's skirt in a Belfast nightclub was given a suspended sentence yesterday.
Slovakian national Marian Antal (26), from Woodbreda Avenue in the south of the city, claimed that he took the pictures "as a stupid bet with a friend."
He pleaded guilty to a single charge of committing an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature, and to outraging public decency.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins told Belfast Crown Court that on the evening of October 31 last year, Antal was drinking with friends in Benedict's bar.
CCTV footage showed him putting his mobile up a girl's skirt "and appearing to take photographs". Afterwards, the defendant checked his phone before taking more pictures.
Mr Jenkins said Antal was then challenged by other bar patrons, after which door staff became involved and he was handed over to the police, who checked his phone and found he had taken six photographs up the girl's skirt.
During police interview, Antal admitted taking the photos and said he had done so because of a "stupid bet with a friend".
Defence barrister Michael Boyd said his client came before the court with a clear criminal record and was "extremely embarrassed and ashamed" by his "foolish" behaviour on a night out with friends.
Passing sentence, Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Antal: "Offences of this nature cause a high degree of embarrassment to young ladies who are entitled to the protection of the courts.
"In your case, there is no evidence these images were passed on or published, nor have you any previous convictions for sexual offending.
"For this reason, I do not think it necessary to send you immediately to prison. However, for the protection of young women from activities such as you engaged in, I intend to impose a two-month sentence, and these two months will be suspended for a period of two years.
"If you engage in this activity again, it is likely you will go to prison for it."