Northern Ireland

CCTV operator, Ciaran McCleave's trial hears of systems' fault

Belfast court complex
Image caption Mr McCleave denies one count of misconduct in a public office, one count of voyeurism and six counts of attempted voyeurism

The trial of a CCTV operator accused of voyeurism has heard there was a systems fault in the CCTV suite at the police station where he worked.

Ciaran McCleave, 50, from Collinwood Gardens, Newtownabbey, was based at Antrim Road police station in north Belfast.

He faces one count of misconduct in a public office, one count of voyeurism and six counts of attempted voyeurism.

He denies all the charges.

The offences allegedly took place from 20 October to 20 November 2012.

The prosecution allege that Mr McCleave, who at the time of the alleged offences worked at pod three in the monitoring room, directed the camera into the woman's living room for around 20 minutes on the afternoon of 12 November 2012 for his own sexual gratification.

The jury was told that operators wishing to examine individual cameras more clearly can bring the footage from a camera onto the monitor at their work pod, and they can zoom in on the footage using a joystick.

The prosecution also make the case that only one operator at a time can use the joystick to zoom in.

During his second day in the witness box, a colleague and fellow CCTV operator who was working with Mr McCleave on 12 November 2012 said that after returning from the gym, he brought down the camera monitoring the Whitewell Road/Shore Road junction on pod one and was shocked to see the camera was pointed into the living room of a nearby apartment and that a young woman could be seen in the flat.

The colleague said when he investigated further, the camera in question was in use at pod three, which is where McCleave was working from that afternoon.

He reported the incident to his union representative, who subsequently notified police.

Under cross-examination by Mr McCleave's defence barrister, the colleague was asked whether he was aware of a systems fault in the CCTV monitoring room at Antrim Road PSNI station, which he suggested may have been present "since the installation" of the system.

The barrister also asked the colleague whether he was aware that five months after the alleged incident in November 2012, a fault was reported regarding the fact that pods one and two in the monitoring room had the ability to "call down and manipulate" images on Pod three - in effect pods one and two could control pod three.

The jury heard the fault was reported in the 'day book' in March 13, when it was noted this fault could leave Pod 3 "open to misuse".

The defence lawyer also pointed out there was an entry about a problem with pod two's play-back in October 2012, prompting him to ask the witness: "Wouldn't it appear there were faults in the system before November 2012?"

He also pointed out a fault was reported regarding recording on pod three's hard drive.

The colleague replied by telling the court: "There are faults with the system at Antrim Road CCTV on a daily basis.

They are sent to the help desk, who send engineers out to fix them."