Court hears man (71) attempted to kiss a male shop worker in a Ballymena shopping centre

Ballymena Court

A 71-year-old man who attempted to kiss a male shop worker aged in his 20s in the Tower Centre in Ballymena has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Charles Redmond, of Kirkwood Manor, Ballymena, had denied charges of attempted sexual assault in relation to last September and harassment of the man over a three year period.

However, he was found guilty and was back at Ballymena Magistrates Court for sentencing on Thursday.

A prosecutor said a man told police an elderly male had been harassing him.

Whilst at work on September 17 last year he was in a storeroom when the pensioner blocked the entrance and placed his hand on his shoulder and attempted to kiss him.

CCTV was examined and it showed Redmond “hanging around” outside the shop before the incident and it also showed the complainant leaving in a “distressed state”.

A defence lawyer claimed the defendant had misunderstood “signals”.

The barrister said the defendant was a church member and had been an “upstanding” member of the community.

The lawyer said there had been no other allegations of inappropriate offending of a sexual nature.

The prosecution lawyer said the incident had been at the “lower end of the offending scale” and they were not applying for a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said in some respects it could be regarded as being as the lower end of the scale but “that’s not to undermine the emotional harm to the victim”.

Redmond was given a three months prison term, suspended for two years and also made the subject of a Restraining Order for two years regarding the victim.

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