A horse trader who repeatedly denied exposing himself to a schoolboy, leading to the case being adjourned numerous times, has changed his plea at the last minute, just as a contest was to get underway.
Harry Evans (24) from Ballyronan Road, Magherafelt, committed the offence on February 6, 2020 and narrowly avoided imprisonment when it emerged he has since been convicted of voyeurism in the meantime, when he filmed a woman carrying out a sex act on him, which his friend then showed to others including the victim.
He was also given a suspended sentence for that instance which occurred in July 2019. While the case was pending, Evans went on to expose himself to the child seven months later.
Magherafelt Magistrates’ Court heard on the morning in question, the victim got off a bus and began walking to school, when a male voice shouted, “Hey – over here.”
The boy looked up and observed Evans standing naked on an apartment balcony.
Afraid and embarrassed, the child quickly looked away before Evans shouted, “You’re a bad boy.”
On arrival at school he reported this to a teacher and police were alerted.
They called at the property where a female answered the door and later confirmed Evans had stood naked on the balcony and what he had said.
A person in dark clothing captured on CCTV running from the property while police were at the front door was confirmed to be Evans.
He was arrested for indecent exposure and during interview admitted being in the property when police called before jumping out the window and running away.
Evans accepted being naked while walking from one room to another with the blinds of the property fully open.
He denied shouting to the boy, leading District Judge Oonagh Mullan to enquire, “So is he saying the child was lying?”
The prosecutor replied, “That appears to be the case.”
A defence barrister said there were significant issues with the evidence contending the child never actually said he saw Evan’s genitals.
Nonetheless, he added: “My client accepts there was short exposure … He requires support and his family have focused on his well-being and ability to mix with the community. They are very well-respected people. He resides in a cottage on their premises and works in their horse yard.”
The court heard Social Services are fully aware of the current matter and his previous conviction for sexualised offending.
The defence accepted the victim’s young age was an aggravating factor and added: “While the offence crosses the custody threshold, I urge the court to refrain from the final step of imprisonment.”
Addressing Evans directly, Judge Mullan said, “Whenever I first looked at this case I was extremely concerned. My initial view – which I’m still struggling with – was immediate custody. There is a previous conviction of a sexual-type nature.”
She continued, “This situation involved a very innocent young boy just walking to school on a normal day. He was extremely distressed and upset when spoken to by police. I’ve no doubt this has impacted on him. He has to go along that road perhaps every day to go to school. It’s not something he’s going to forget.”
She continued, “Why you would want to stand on a balcony facing into a public street naked I fail to understand.”
Evans was handed a six month prison term suspended for three years.