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Armagh man's appeal against jail term for trying to buy sex thrown out

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A Northern Ireland man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for trying to pay for sex has had an appeal against his conviction rejected

A Northern Ireland man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for trying to pay for sex has had an appeal against his conviction rejected

A Northern Ireland man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for trying to pay for sex has had an appeal against his conviction rejected

A Northern Ireland man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for trying to pay for sex has had an appeal against his conviction rejected.

James Maloney denied attempting to buy sexual services after an early morning encounter at a filling station was captured on CCTV.

Maloney (23), of Drumarg Villas, Armagh, was found guilty at Dungannon Magistrates Court in July by District Judge John Meehan, who described the incident as "abhorrent, predatory sexualised stalking of a woman, with the offer of money to satisfy his egotism".

The judge had noted: "This is the first prosecution of its kind in Northern Ireland. This wasn't a case of a man caught out trying to approach a sex worker. This is a man who deliberately targeted an isolated woman in a predatory fashion, by virtue of the fact she was a woman."

Maloney was sentenced to three months' imprisonment and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the victim.

But defence lawyers launched an appeal of the conviction and sentence, which was heard at Omagh County Court.

In a full re-run of the case before Judge Stephen Fowler QC, the victim was required to again undergo intensive cross-examination by Maloney's lawyer.

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Due to continuing extreme fear of the defendant, the victim was granted special measures, appearing in court via live-link.

She described being at work - a Sainsbury's petrol station in Co Tyrone - at 6.20am on August 28, 2016 and carrying out her usual duties.

A car approached and Maloney spoke out the passenger window. He showed a roll of money and she thought he was wanting something from the shop.

However, Maloney proceeded to make what the court accepted was "an unambiguous sexual gesture".

The car drove off, returning five minutes later with Maloney repeating the gestures. But on this occasion, the victim spotted a colleague and asked for help, after which Maloney again drove away.

After a while, Maloney again returned and, although he didn't approach, he stared directly at the victim, which frightened her.

Police attended, seized CCTV footage and identified Maloney by his car registration.

Following this, police spoke with his solicitor pointing out he would be required to attend for interview.

This was rebuffed by Maloney, who through his solicitor told police: "He would not be attending as he didn't see the point."

When eventually interviewed, he remained silent, a position he retained at both contest and appeal. He also refused to take part in an identification procedure, but this was carried out in a covert manner and the victim picked him out.

During cross-examination, the victim was asked if she may have mistaken being shown a roll of money. This claim was rejected outright.

After hearing evidence over two days, which was often tense and involved sharp exchanges, Judge Fowler retired to consider his findings.

Yesterday, he said: "There was overwhelming evidence against the defendant. He failed to testify as any account would not withstand scrutiny. Accordingly I affirm the conviction."

The case was adjourned for updated pre-sentence reports.

The judge ordered inquires to be carried out on the potential forfeiture of Maloney's vehicle having been used in a crime.

He also noted "no logical reason" not to have sex offender status applied, although the law does not state this requirement.


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