Northern Ireland

Man loses 'pay for sex' conviction appeal

James Maloney
Image caption James Maloney was released on bail and will be re-sentenced next month

A County Armagh man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for trying to pay for sexual services has lost his appeal against his conviction.

James Maloney, from Drumarg Villas in Armagh, challenged his conviction and three-month prison sentence.

He was released on bail and will be re-sentenced next month.

The 23-year-old was found guilty of attempting to pay for sex in an incident in Dungannon in 2016.

At his original trial, the court heard he pulled up in his Audi A3 beside a cleaner at a petrol station in the County Tyrone town.

He showed her a roll of money while making a sexualised gesture early one morning in August 2016.

He drove off but then returned a few minutes later and repeated the same gesture.

The incident was captured on CCTV.

'Scared and ashamed'

The judge at his original trial said because of the abhorrent nature of Maloney's behaviour, his predatory sexualised stalking of a woman, heartlessly putting the victim through a court hearing and showing no regret or remorse, he felt an immediate sentence of three months' imprisonment was appropriate.

He was released on bail pending an appeal which was heard at Omagh County Court over the course of three days, during which the victim was compelled to give evidence for a second time.

In her evidence, which was given through a Polish translator, she said she felt scared and ashamed due to what had happened.

She also said: "I was quite surprised as well. He is quite a handsome man."

Maloney refused to answer any questions during a police interview and declined to go into the witness box to give evidence at both his trial and appeal.

Judge Stephen Fowler rejected the defence argument at the appeal that it was a misunderstanding, or a case of mistaken identity.

Adjourning sentencing, he judge asked the prosecution to find out if the defendant still owned the Audi A3 and the potential for forfeiture of a vehicle used in the commission of a crime.

Paying for sex became illegal in 2015 after the Assembly passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where it is illegal.

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