Armagh man jailed after pay-for-sex conviction upheld
A County Armagh man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for attempting to pay for sex has had his conviction and sentence upheld.
James Maloney, from Drumarg Villas in Armagh city, had been on bail pending an appeal.
The offence carries a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment.
The 24-year-old was sentenced to three months in prison after being found guilty of attempting to pay for sex in County Tyrone in 2016.
At his original trial, the court heard that he drove up to a cleaner at a petrol station in Dungannon in his Audi A3, showed the woman a roll of money and made a sexualised gesture.
He drove off but then returned a few minutes later and repeated the same gesture.
'Scared and ashamed'
The judge at his trial in July last year said that because of his predatory, sexualised stalking of a woman, heartlessly putting the victim through a court hearing and showing no regrets or remorse, an immediate sentence of three months' imprisonment was appropriate.
An appeal was heard at Omagh County Court in October 2018, during which the victim was compelled to give evidence for a second time.
She said she felt scared and ashamed at what had happened.
She also said: "I was quite surprised as well. He is quite a handsome man."
The judge rejected the defence argument at the appeal that it was a misunderstanding, or a case of mistaken identity, and the conviction was affirmed.
Sentencing Maloney at Dungannon Court on Friday, the judge said it was "a blatant attempt to sexually proposition a vulnerable victim".
He said she was "simply carrying out an honest day's work and should never have been subjected to this humiliation and degradation".
"In terms of harm to the victim, this was indeed a distressing and disturbing event, which made her considerably apprehensive about going to work in the early hours of the morning," he added.
The judge said three months in custody was "entirely appropriate" and Maloney was taken from the dock in handcuffs to begin his sentence.
Maloney was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to his victim.
Paying for sex became illegal in 2015 after the Northern Ireland Assembly passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where it is illegal.