A former aide to Upper Bann MP David Simpson was jailed for four months yesterday (Wednesday) after his conviction for hiding a camera in office toilets for sexual thrills .
David McConaghie (50) was released on bail pending an appeal of the jail sentence and of his conviction for voyeurism on dates between August 22 and September 13, 2012.
At Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Mervyn Bates said he saw no alternative but to jail one-time prominent Independent Orangeman and church minister McConaghie, who, to this day, has yet to offer any explanation or justification for hiding a camera in potpourri in the toilets of the Portadown constituency office of the DUP’s Mr Simpson.
Also imposing a sexual offences prevention order and ordering McConaghie to sign the police sex offenders register for seven years, Judge Bates told him suspending the jail term “has no attraction”.
Following an application from defence barrister Michael Tierney, however, the judge released McConaghie, from Cottage Hill, Dollingstown, on bail, pending appeal
Standing in the dock with his hands clasped in front of him, McConaghie showed little or no reaction as Judge Bates said his continued denial of his crimes “leave me uncertain” that probation rehabilitation would be of any benefit. At the end of his contest last month, the judge said he had no doubt McConaghie had “secreted” the sophisticated spy camera for his own sexual gratification.
He said that in addition to drawing inferences from McConaghie’s silence throughout the investigation, Judge Bates told the court there was “more than sufficient evidence to satisfy me that you are guilty”.
The judge told McConaghie his crime was aggravated by numerous factors including his breach of the trust placed in him by others who worked in Mr Simpson’s constituency office, the length of time it was carried out and that it was a “deliberate attempt to observe someone that you knew well carrying out a private act”.
A prosecuting lawyer reminded the court that throughout the police investigation McConaghie had remained resolutely silent, answering police questions with “no comment”.
As part of the sexual offences prevention order, Judge Bates barred McConaghie from owning or possessing any device capable of taking photographs or recording video footage, from taking up a job or residing anywhere without prior approval from his designated risk manager.