Northern Ireland

Radiologist spared jail following voyeurism trial

McClure pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism in February 2016 Image copyright PAul Higgins
Image caption McClure pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism in February 2016

A radiologist at a private practice has been spared jail after stashing his mobile phone in an air vent to record patients using the unisex toilet.

Dr Mark McClure, with an address at Hazelwood Lane in Lisburn, pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism in February 2016.

A judge at Lisburn Magistrates Court imposed a nine month probation order on the 48-year-old.

However, he was not placed on the sex offenders' register.

Two other charges of voyeurism, alleging that he recorded another person doing a private act to obtain sexual gratification without consent, were not proceeded with.

A staff member at the Hillsborough clinic was told by the defendant that he needed access to the inside of an air vent overlooking the unisex toilet, a prosecuting lawyer told the court.

McClure claimed his mobile phone had fallen into the vent when he was attempting to fix it.

The staff member doubted that claim was credible as the vent was fixed to the wall, and expressed concern to the practice manager.

On 23 February, staff followed McClure and saw him going into adjacent toilet, but there was no sound of flushing.

When staff went to investigate, they uncovered the mobile phone still recording behind the vent, although no-one had actually been recorded.

During a police interview, McClure admitted the phone was his and that he went back to get it as he realised he had made a "big mistake", but denied committing any crime, claiming he had been under financial pressure and life stresses at the time.

'Catastrophic effect'

He pleaded guilty to the offence of "installing equipment or adapting a structure with the intention of enabling [himself] or another to commit an offence under Article 71(1) of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order".

His defence barrister said the incident has had a "catastrophic effect" on McClure's life.

"One is particularly concerned about potential victims," he said, but stressed that nothing was found on the phone and a police check of his computer revealed that it was also "completely clear".

"He is fortunate that nothing is on the phone and there are no actual victims in this case," said Mr Molloy, who conceded McClure was in a "very dangerous situation", as his "exemplary career" would be threatened if he went to jail or was placed on the sex offenders' register.

The lawyer added: "This has been a complete and utter catastrophe. He lost his marriage, lost his job - subject to appeal - and he has supervised contact with his three children."

Imposing her sentence, the judge said that in light of McClure's clean record and the absence of images on his phone and computer, she was "satisfied that the custodial threshold has not been passed".

While the prosecution had requested the imposition of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, the judge said she did not feel the order was necessary to protect members of the public from serious harm.