BBC News

Belfast man convicted of video glasses voyeurism

By Sara Girvin
BBC News NI north east reporter

Published

A Belfast man has been convicted of trying to record a young child getting changed at a Portstewart beach using a pair of "surreptitious" video sunglasses.

Christopher Hodgen, 65, of Salisbury Court in the city, was convicted of attempted voyeurism and the attempted making of an indecent photograph.

Hodgen contested the charges against him, but instructed his legal counsel not to dispute the evidence.

He declined to give evidence.

The court was told that a witness had observed Hodgen pointing the glasses in the direction of "a three-year-old who was getting changed and naked from the waist down" at a Portstewart beach.

The witness told police he saw Hodgen pushing buttons on the glasses after which a red light came on.

Further investigation by police showed the sunglasses had "video and audio capability".

A receipt showed Hodgen had purchased the glasses on the afternoon of 26 July, a day before he used them.

During police interview, Hodgen told the court he had been in Portstewart to hear a man and woman sing after watching them at a Hugo Duncan show.

When asked by police why he had the glasses and what he had been doing with them, Hodgen replied: "No comment".

A prosecution barrister said: "He has the opportunity before the court today to offer an innocent explanation but has declined to do so."

A defence barrister told the court: "In effect, he has instructed me that he maintains his innocence but does not wish to give evidence to the court."

Convicted

District Judge Peter King convicted Hodgen on both counts.

He said: "It is open to the court that the reason you have not offered a explanation for these allegations is because you have no explanation to give.

"You travelled to Portstewart armed with a recording device.

"It was not an obvious device, it was a surreptitious device and it was surreptitious the way that you used it."

The judge said the witness who alerted police to Hodgen's behaviour should be "commended for his public spirit".

Hodgen will be sentenced next month.

Related Topics

  • Portstewart