A FLASHER who exposed his private parts to a woman walking dogs in a forest car park near Coleraine has been ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Jason Paine (29), originally of Hazelbank Road in Coleraine but now with an address at Curragh Road in Aghadowey, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday for sentencing.
He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the woman after it was heard she no longer feels safe going to the forest.
Paine had originally pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent behaviour but had denied a charge of ‘intentionally exposing’ his private parts ‘intending’ that the woman ‘would see them and be caused alarm or distress’ but was convicted during a court contest in August.
The offences were committed on June 29 last year at the car park at the ‘Trim Trail’ walk at Somerset Forest.
During the contested hearing, Paine claimed he was in a vehicle taking a picture of his private parts to send to his partner to “spice up my sex life” and had not intended that the dog walker would see him.
At the August court the woman said 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 as she passed the other car she noticed a man in the vehicle had pulled down his jogging bottoms and she could see him holding his private parts 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 private parts to send to his girlfriend and the woman “just happened to walk past” and he had not intended to expose himself to cause her alarm.
Paine told the contest hearing that when he arrived at the car park 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 as 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 if he had wanted her to see him Paine would not have just sat in the car “hoping she would look in the window”.
Convicting the defendant in August, Deputy District Judge Paul 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 car park 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.
At court on Friday, District Judge Liam McNally noted the recommendation from a pre-sentence report was for Community Service.
He told Paine if he didn’t complete the unpaid work the matter would come back to court and he would be re-sentenced.