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Man who performed sex act in his ‘fully illuminated’ living room in view of neighbours said he did not realise curtains were open

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A man who stood and performed a sex act in his “fully illuminated” living room in full view of his neighbours has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Ryan Burton, who was sentenced at Antrim Crown Court, claimed he didn’t realise his curtains were open.

Although Judge Roseanne McCormick KC imposed a three-month prison sentence on Burton, she said given the 39-year-old is already on probation, she was suspending it for three years because to jail him “in the long run would be adverse to the public”.

But she warned Burton if he committed any further offences “that sentence will be taken out of a cupboard and put back on the table”.

At an earlier hearing, Burton, from Drumaconey Heights in Limavady, Co Derry, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency on October 15, 2021, in that he “committed an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency by exposing your penis” and performing a sex act.

Prosecuting counsel Michael Chambers told the court how the couple living opposite Burton contacted police at 9.45pm that evening when they saw him “standing in his fully lit living room, openly [performing a sex act], in full view of the street”.

“The couple had a young child in the house and they were concerned about this sexual behaviour,” said the barrister.

He added that when police arrived at Burton’s home, they noted that the room was fully illuminated, with the curtains wide open, to such an extent the room “could easily be viewed from the street”.

Arrested and interviewed, Burton, via his solicitor, gave police a statement in which he admitted performing a sex act but claimed he didn’t realise the curtains were open.

Defence counsel Stephen Mooney said that while Burton’s actions were distressing for the couple to see, “there’s no suggestion of any harm other than what one would expect”, adding that there was no deliberate targeting of anyone and that Burton has “intellectual shortcomings”.

He submitted that, with a community service order, a suspended sentence and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order in place for two other offences committed after this incident, the judge could deal with the case in such a way to allow those protective measures to run their course.

Judge McCormick agreed and, in addition to the suspended sentence, ordered Burton to sign the sex offenders register for seven years.
 

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