VIDEO: Former MP’s aide guilty of toilet cam charge

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A former adviser to DUP MP David Simpson has been found guilty of secretly filming a colleague for sexual gratification.

David McConaghie (50) had denied the offence but he was convicted on Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Ex-DUP aide David McConaghie arrives at Craigavon Magistrates Court to contest a voyeurism charge. A camera was found hidden in potpourri, allegedly placed by the former aide to DUP MP David Simpson in the toilet of his Portadown office. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

Ex-DUP aide David McConaghie arrives at Craigavon Magistrates Court to contest a voyeurism charge. A camera was found hidden in potpourri, allegedly placed by the former aide to DUP MP David Simpson in the toilet of his Portadown office. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

Sentencing in the case was adjourned until September 30 so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

And depending on the sentence McConaghie, from Cottage Hill, Dollingstown, may have to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.

His defence team had argued that the prosecution had not proved that the offence had been for the purpose of sexual gratification.

However District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, in his ruling said there was a case to answer.

McConaghie exercised his right not to give evidence and later in the court the judge heard submissions from the prosecution and defence.

A prosecution lawyer said the accounts of the two main witnesses were very clear that the defendant had introduced the potpourri in which the camera was hidden.

He added that video footage shown in court showed McConaghie on his knees handling the device and after flushing the toilet returning to the potpourri for ‘a final tweak’.

Just over an hour later a private act was recorded on the camera, he said.

The prosecutor said McConaghie had not given any evidence or an answer which would stand up to any scrutiny or cross examination.

He said there was overwhelming evidence against the defendant and the court should find him guilty.

A defence lawyer said there had been no evidence laid there was any sexual gratification and the prosecution had not produced any proof that there was ‘some sort of fetish’.

There was nothing from the defendant’s computer or phones to corroborate sexual gratification, he added.

Judge Bates said that on what had been viewed in chambers and in open court to “any right thinking person in my view” there could be no other justification beyond sexual gratification.

He said he was satisfied beyond reasonable act McConaghie was guilty of the offence and it was deliberate attempt to see someone carry out a private act.

Following the conviction of David McConaghie at Craigavon Magistrates Court David Simpson MP said: “I am making this one statement on what had been a very disturbing matter and will not be giving interviews or further commentary, as I do not wish to prolong what has been a horrendous ordeal for my staff.

“I further request press respect this decision and refrain from attempting to contact either victims or witnesses.

“The judge has made his decision which I wholeheartedly welcome.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for my staff, but particularly for the victims.

“I wish to thank the PSNI and the PPS for their sensitive handling of this matter. Also my party colleagues for their support and the court staff for their kindness.

“Most importantly, I thank my staff and pay tribute to their bravery in giving evidence and withstanding a harsh, invasive cross-examination.

“I do not intend to make any further comment on this very distressing matter, save to say my staff will receive every support as they move on from their ordeal.”