Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man who groped woman at funeral must pay her £1,000

Sex pest: John Shivers
Sex pest: John Shivers

By Paul Higgins

A man who sexually assaulted a woman at a funeral was ordered to complete 220 hours of community service yesterday.

In addition to the community service imposed on 56-year-old John Shivers at Antrim Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick ordered him to pay £1,000 to his victim.

However, Judge Broderick told Shivers the £1,000 compensation order "in no way is the full amount" of compensation due to his victim, warning him that she is at liberty to pursue a civil case.

Following a short contest earlier this year Shivers, from Grange Park in Magherafelt, was convicted of sexually assaulting the woman on September 30, 2016.

In court yesterday prosecuting lawyer Briege Gilmore outlined how the victim had been at a funeral at Moyola Golf Club in Castledawson when the incident happened. She reminded the court how the woman had been sitting on a stool at the bar when Shivers approached her and stood with "his leg between her legs".

Putting his hand on her leg, Shivers "moved his hand up to her thigh", said Ms Gilmore, adding that when she told Shivers to stop and that "she was a happily married woman" he said he wanted to perform a sex act on her and "I want to kiss you".

Shivers moved his hand further up the woman's thigh so she put her hand to the outside of her dress to stop him, but he took it away when mutual friends came over to chat.

The woman's daughter also came over and, on seeing what Shivers had been doing, "she challenged him about it, but he didn't reply and left the bar".

The incident was reported to the police, who took the woman's tights for examination.

Shivers was arrested and interviewed but denied there was any sexual assault.

Defence counsel Stephen Toal revealed that Shivers intended to lodge an appeal.

The lawyer claimed that, since the conviction for sexual assault, "there's been what can only be described as a tidal wave of evidence from people who did not want to be involved in the case", all pointing to Shivers' innocence.

He added that Shivers was "very upset" they didn't come forward ahead of his trial and that the delay in the conclusion of the case "has caused a lot of stress", as has the conviction.

Imposing the community service, Judge Broderick also ordered Shivers to stay on the sex offenders register for five years.

Describing the offence as a "very serious matter", the judge said he could only sentence on the conviction and the evidence heard in court.

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