Belfast Telegraph

Judge dismisses appeal by funeral sex assault man

John Shivers’ conviction was upheld by the Appeal Court yesterday
John Shivers’ conviction was upheld by the Appeal Court yesterday

By George Jackson

A man found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman after her father-in-law's funeral has lost an appeal against his conviction.

John Shivers (56), from Grange Park in Magherafelt, who had no previous criminal record, committed the assault on the woman, who is in her 50s, on September 30, 2016.

The victim had been in the clubhouse at Moyola Park Golf Club near Castledawson, where mourners had gone for a meal following the funeral of her relative.

As a result of his conviction in April, Shivers was ordered to sign and remain on the sex offenders register for five years, and told to complete 220 hours of community service within 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay his victim compensation of £1,000 within six months.

Yesterday at the appeal hearing at the Crown Court in Londonderry, Judge Elizabeth McCaffrey affirmed the original conviction.

However, she revoked the sex offenders notification as well as the 220 hours of community service.

Instead she fined Shivers £250, to be paid within 28 days.

She also ordered him to pay within the next six months compensation of £2,000 to his victim.

Judge McCaffrey said that in her evidence the victim said Shivers had put his hand up her skirt and moved it towards her crotch area.

Both the victim and Shivers were sitting on bar stools in the clubhouse, the court had been told.

She explained in her evidence that during the 25 minutes of the abuse, she had frozen.

Judge McCaffrey said both the victim and her abuser had consumed alcohol before the incident.

The judge also referred to the evidence of two male witnesses, who said they had seen nothing happening between the victim and Shivers - but added that the victim's daughter had arrived to find her mother in a distressed state.

"Her daughter said she saw her mother upset and saw his hand up her mother's leg," explained Judge McCaffrey.

"The daughter spoke to him, there was an exchange between them, and the daughter tried to hit him."

The judge said she found the evidence given by the victim and by her daughter as consistent with the evidence they had given at the trial held in Belfast Magistrates Court in April.

"The DNA of the appellant was found on the injured party's tights and a forensic examination also found a tear in her tights," she pointed out.

"The appellant denied any touching. He gave different evidence to Belfast Magistrates Court than he gave to me."

Judge McCaffrey added: "I am satisfied he did sexually assault her by putting his hand on her knee and moving it to her crotch area.

"He intended to touch her and the touching was sexual. The appeal is dismissed."

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