A man who claimed he took a picture of his genitals to send to his partner to “spice up my sex life” whilst he was alone in a vehicle at a car park at a forest has been convicted of exposure after a woman out walking dogs spotted him.
Jason Paine (29), of Hazelbank Road, Coleraine, appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court on Friday and denied a charge of intentionally exposing his genitals intending that a ‘woman would see them and be caused alarm or distress’.
After a contest, Deputy District Judge Paul Conway found him guilty of the charge and adjourned sentencing until the end of September for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. The defendant had earlier pleaded guilty to another charge, of ‘indecent behaviour’, relating to his actions in a public place, the car park at the ‘Trim Trail’ at Somerset Forest on Coleraine’s Castleroe Road. The incident happened on June 29, 2017.
A woman gave evidence to the court saying she had gone to walk her dog and a neighbour’s dog at the Trim Trail and when she went to the car park she believed a man in a people carrier was staring at her and it made her “feel uncomfortable” but she decided to proceed with her walk.
She returned around 40 minutes later and noticed the other vehicle had moved to the driver’s door side beside her car.
She said she was feeling uneasy but put the dogs in her car and she passed the other car she noticed a man in the vehicle had pulled down jogging bottoms and she could see him holding his genitals in his hand.
“I found it upsetting and horrifying really. I didn’t really know what to do because there were only two cars in the car park. I always felt I was a strong confident woman and he made me a target and I don’t like that”. The woman said she drove to a nearby Sainsbury’s filling station and police were contacted.
“I just panicked, I thought the safest thing would be to get into the car and be with other people,” she said.
She said she perhaps should have followed her instinct when she arrived at the forest but added: “I feel a woman has a right to walk their dogs”. She had noted the registration plate and police later spoke to the defendant.
Defence barrister Michael Smyth said the defendant’s case was that he was “taking a picture” of his genitals to send to his girlfriend and the woman “just happened to walk past” but he had not intended to expose himself to cause her alarm.
Paine told the court when he arrived at the carpark there were around ten vehicles present and he had parked beside another car. He said he pulled into the car park after receiving a text from his girlfriend, with whom he later split, and because their relationship was “on the rocks” he first sent her a picture of his stomach and “the next one was of my willy”.
The defendant added: “I just thought it would spice up my sex life, I was just trying to spice things up. I was looking to send a good photograph to my girlfriend”.
Paine denied a prosecutor’s assertion that he had gone to the car park to get a thrill from exposing himself to a stranger.
The defendant claimed he was unaware of the presence of the woman.
Defence lawyer Mr Smyth said his client “seems to have been blissfully unaware of the presence” of the woman and he claimed if he had only wanted the woman to see him would Paine have just sat there “hoping she would look in the window”.
Convicting the defendant, Judge Conway said the woman “understandably found this to be an unsettling and horrifying experience” and was in such a panicked state she couldn’t remember how to phone the police and had driven to a nearby Sainsbury’s filling station.
The judge said he believed the woman’s version that there were only two cars in the carpark and he said it would have been incredible that the defendant would not notice the woman returning with dogs, opening the boot, getting in the driver’s door and driving off.
He said he did not believe Paine’s explanation of taking a photo and ruled that the defendant had intentionally exposed himself to the woman to cause her alarm and found him guilty.
The judge adjourned sentencing for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
After the hearing neither Paine or the woman wished to make any comment.