A thirty-six-year-old man who admitted intentionally exposing himself to a lone female as she walked in Peatlands Park has avoided prison and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).
Jose Ferreira from The Vale, Coalisland committed the offence on May 6, 2022, however police had already received a report of similar activity in the area the previous week and while no prosecution flowed from that, officers were alert to the situation.
Dungannon Magistrates’ Court heard that at around 3.30pm the female victim observed Ferreria acting suspiciously before making his way to a silver Audi car.
A short time later she encountered him again this time in a wooded area, “walking calmly towards her with his genitals exposed” and made no attempt to cover himself.
Ferreira then walked past the woman “gave a casual, apologetic wave and pulled his trousers over his genitals”.
The victim reported this to police who traced Ferreira to his home address as the registered owner of the Audi.
A defence barrister explained his client is in a long-term relationship with his partner who is “standing by him, despite what has occurred and is supporting him through the court process”.
He has no prior convictions and “has never conducted himself in this manner before”.
It was contended Ferreira was going through a number of difficulties at the time which he struggled to cope with mentally including allegations his partner had been unfaithful.
“He suffered from anxiety and depression but recognised this was serious and referred himself for counselling of his own accord, which he continues with on a weekly basis,” said the defence.
“He has an awareness of the impact his behaviour had on the victim and has empathy for her. He is remorseful and is dealing with his issues which in a way contributed to this offending. It’s not an excuse but he was experiencing significant adversity in his life which he has put behind him and he hopes to put this matter behind him also. He has a clear record and this was an isolated incident.”
A pre-sentence report found Ferreira did not present as a significant risk to the public although assessed him as a medium likelihood of reoffending.
But District Judge Michael Ranaghan told Ferreira: “I seldom disagree with Probation who have assessed you as a medium likelihood of reoffending. I think this is actually a low likelihood, based on the clear criminal record. This is one incident involving one complainant. I also accept your behaviour was very much fixed in the context of what was happening in your life at the time. The issues around your partner may have contributed to this offending. The other side of the coin is this was no doubt a very distressing and disturbing incident for the victim. That has to be high in the court’s thinking.”
He ordered Ferreira to carry out 100 hours Community Service and refused a prosecution application for a SOPO, however he will be subject to Sex Offender Registration for five years.