Northern Ireland

Serial Belfast flasher given 12 months probation

A flasher who drunkenly walked around with no trousers on has been ordered to serve 12 months on probation.

Belfast Magistrates Court was told Gary Boyle continued to indecently expose himself to women even after being convicted of the offence.

The 43-year-old, from Wayland Street, Belfast was sentenced for three counts committed on dates earlier this year.

A psychologist concluded there was nothing to suggest a sexual motive.

A judge was told on one occasion in April two women alerted police to a man walking around an undisclosed location without any trousers.

A Public Prosecution Service representative said the women were "very distressed".

Officers then spotted Boyle, who was extremely intoxicated and did not appear to be aware of his situation.

"At that point he was wearing underwear, albeit a very small pair of underwear," the PPS representative added.

He was asked to put his clothes back on but refused, the court heard.

Boyle later accepted his behaviour had caused distress and that there was the potential for children to see him.

Further indecent exposure offences were committed in January on the Castlereagh Road and near his home, and again in May.

Defence barrister Michael Boyd said it was "a highly unusual case, to put it mildly".

"It can't be said to be a one-off, it occurred on three separate occasions. It was still occurring after this man had already appeared in court and been convicted for the first matter."

Mr Boyd stressed, however, that a psychologist had concluded there was nothing to suggest a sexual motive.

"It really does appear to be bizarre behaviour triggered by a serious abuse of alcohol," he told the court.

"This man is now doing his best to manage his drink problem.

"Ultimately he understands this is totally unacceptable behaviour: women and children and the general public being exposed to the sight of him walking down the road semi-naked."

Ordering Boyle to serve probation, District Judge Fiona Bagnall pointed out that he had contested one of the charges.