Flasher who distressed woman out walking her dogs avoids a jail term
A man who exposed himself to a woman walking two dogs in a forest car park near Coleraine has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work.
Jason Paine (29), with an address at Curragh Road in nearby Aghadowey, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday where he was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the woman, who no longer feels safe going to the forest.
Paine pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent behaviour, but denied a charge of "intentionally exposing" his private parts. He was convicted during a court contest in August of the offences on June 29 last year at the car park at the Trim Trail walk at Somerset Forest.
During the hearing Paine claimed he was in a vehicle taking a picture of his private parts to send to his partner and had not intended that the dog walker would see him.
At the August court the woman said she had gone to walk her dog and a neighbour's dog and when she went to the car park she believed a man in a people carrier was staring at her and it made her "feel uncomfortable".
She returned from her walk around 40 minutes later and noticed the other vehicle had moved beside hers.
She said she was feeling uneasy but put the dogs in her car and, as she passed the other vehicle, she noticed the man in it had pulled down his jogging bottoms and she could see him holding his private parts in his hand.
She said: "I found it upsetting and horrifying, really. I didn't really know what to do because there were only two cars in the car park.
"I always felt I was a strong, confident woman and he made me a target and I don't like that".
The woman said she drove to a nearby filling station and police were contacted.
"I just panicked, I thought the safest thing would be to get into the car and be with other people," she added.
She said she perhaps should have followed her instinct when she arrived at the forest, but added: "I feel a woman has a right to walk their dogs."
She noted the registration number and police later spoke to the defendant.
Defence barrister Michael Smyth said his client's case was that he was "taking a picture" of his private parts to send to his girlfriend and the woman "just happened to walk past" and he had not intended to expose himself to cause her alarm.
Paine told the contested hearing that when he arrived at the car park there were around 10 vehicles present and he had parked beside another car.
He said he pulled into the car park after receiving a text from his girlfriend, with whom he later split, and their relationship was "on the rocks".
Convicting Paine in August, Deputy District Judge Paul Conway said the woman "understandably found this to be an unsettling and horrifying experience".
He said he did not believe Paine's explanation of taking a photo and ruled that the defendant had intentionally exposed himself to the woman to cause her alarm and found him guilty.
Yesterday District Judge Liam McNally warned Paine that if he did not complete the unpaid work he would be resentenced.