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Former reality TV star Jeffrey Anderson who exposed himself in view of a 12-year old in Belfast to be sentenced on Thursday


Jeffrey Anderson. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Jeffrey Anderson. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Jeffrey Anderson. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A former reality TV star who exposed himself in view of a 12-year old Belfast schoolgirl will be sentenced for the offence on Thursday.

Jeffrey Anderson appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday where he was due to be sentenced on a charge of exposure.

The 31-year-old, from Crawfordsburn Road in Newtownards, was convicted by a jury in October of “committing an act of a lewd obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency”.

During the trial, the schoolgirl - who was 12 at the time and who is now 16 - gave evidence and told how she witnessed a man performing a sex act in a car parked on St Jude's Parade on the afternoon of June 20, 2018.

The young witness said the incident made her feel "worried and uncomfortable" she went home and told her mum what she had seen.

As he adjourned sentencing today, Judge Neil Rafferty QC paid tribute to the schoolgirl and read a section of her Victim Impact Statement.

In it, the girl said: 'I found going to court and coming forward scary but it's good for maybe other people to know it's okay and that as long as you are strong and believe in yourself, you can do it.'

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Judge Rafferty said the teenager conducted herself "very appropriately and properly" giving evidence and has rightly taken pride in acting as an example to others.

During the trial Anderson also gave evidence and said the girl had made a genuine mistake as he was simply strumming his guitar.

Anderson found fame on TV talent shows The Voice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Superstar, and gained the nicknamed 'Baby Jesus' while touring as an understudy in the UK production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Anderson described himself as a musician and writer' and told the jury he had parked the car in the area on the day in question as he had arranged to meet a friend.

From the witness box, he claimed he was playing his miniature Baby Taylor guitar and said: "The bottom line is that I know for a fact I was not exposed" and that he was not performing a sex act in his mother's car on that day.

Despite his claims of innocence, Anderson's version of events was rejected by the jury and the panel of eight men and four women returned a 'guilty' verdict after deliberating for just over two hours.

Crown barrister David Russell said that whilst there were several aggravating factors - including the impact Anderson's behaviour has had on the schoolgirl and his continued denials - there were no mitigating factors.

Pointing out the offence occurred whilst Anderson was on bail and under investigation for other offences, Mr Russell said the incident occurred close to three schools.

These other offences were in reference to an investigation which resulted in Anderson being given a three-year suspended sentence last July after he admitted secretly recording 11 women over a period spanning 2005 to 2013.

Regarding the exposure offence, Mr Russell told Judge Rafferty that Anderson accepted he had a "privileged background which many other hadn't”.

The prosecutor continued: "He has, of course, by his conduct and the way he contested the matters and his continued refusal to accept his guilt, been entirely remorseless and is lacking in any insight into his offending behaviour."

Defence barrister David McDowell QC said that despite stability in Anderson's life, there had been a negative impact following media reports surrounding the court cases.

Mr McDowell said: "His convictions have already imposed a significant penalty upon him due to the degree of fame that he previously acquired.

"It is apparent that the public humiliation and vilification of him and anyone connected to him, in some sections of the press and social media, has been significantly greater than the norm."

He added: "Whenever he Googled his name before, he would have seen only positive things. Now, forever, when anyone Googles his name, it will be the opposite."

The defence barrister also urged Judge Rafferty to impose an "onerous community penalty" which would both assist Anderson in addressing his offending behaviour and protect the public.

After listening to both submissions, Judge Rafferty adjourned sentencing to Thursday and released Anderson on continuing bail.

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