A 57-year-old man, who exposed his penis and masturbated in front of three young girls on a bus, has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.
At Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday, Norman Armstrong of Rylands Cottages, Omagh, faced a sentencing hearing over a charge of exposure that occurred on January 11th on a bus travelling from Enniskillen to Ballinamallard.
A spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service told the court that police attended a bus stop in Ballinamallard following an allegation from two of the girls, aged 19 and 20, that Armstrong had committed the offence in front of them. The third girl did not make a direct complaint to police but had informed the bus driver of the incident. The court heard that the defendant’s clothing and CCTV from the bus were seized for examination by investigating officers. The CCTV footage showed Armstrong staring in the direction of the girls repeatedly. The three girls were seen getting up and moved down the bus away from Armstrong but they were followed by the defendant who sat opposite them, exposed his genitals and began to masturbate. When questioned by police, the defendant, who has mental health issues, did not confirm or deny the allegation.
Defence barrister Stefan Rafferty told the court that his client was on considerable medication for schizophrenia and psychotic episodes. Mr Rafferty added that Armstrong suffered from a speech impediment and that taking instructions from him had been a long and arduous process as he could only answer yes or no questions.
“He appreciates the serious and significant nature of the charges against him and that he has to be punished. There has been no repeat of his actions and no further charges pending. He comes to court with a clear record and has pleaded at the earliest opportunity,” Mr Rafferty added.
Addressing the defendant, district Judge Nigel Broderick said his behaviour had been “totally unacceptable” and warned him that he would go to prison if he did it again.
Armstrong was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for two years on condition that he does not re-offend in that time. The judge also placed Armstrong on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.
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