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‘Carbon copy’ charge as man accused of carrying out sex act on himself in public

The nature of this offending is disturbing and needs to be stopped

River Blackwater Moy

A 30-year-old man currently subject to a Community Service Order for carrying out a sexual act on himself in public, has appeared in court for allegedly committing a “carbon copy” offence in the same place.

Slavi Apostolov from Charlemont Street, Moy admitted using indecent behaviour at a riverside walkway on June 14, 2023.

Police were alerted after the female victim observed him standing on a pathway near the Blackwater River in Moy carrying out a sex act on himself “in full view”.

When dealt with last October, Dungannon Magistrates’ Court heard Apostolov “had taken cocaine and went to the area while speaking to a woman on the phone to do this act. He knows he shouldn’t have done it, however it wasn’t directed at the victim”.

Imposing 180 hours Community Service District Judge Michael Ranaghan told him: “This incident significantly impacted on the victim and the custody threshold is passed, but you have a clear record and made immediate admissions.”

However, Apostolov was back before the same court, the same judge for the same offence in the same place.

A police officer explained at 6.30pm on April 2 a report was received from a woman who had observed a male touching his genitals at the riverwalk in Moy.

She described him wearing a baseball cap, a blue jacket, and green-striped pyjama bottoms.

Two other women also observed the male touching himself.

Officers located him and checks confirmed he was Apostolov.

He was found to be in “an aroused state” while watching a video on his phone.

During interview he accepted being in the area listening to music but denied being aroused or simulating sexual acts upon himself.

Objecting to bail the officer said: “There is a previous relevant conviction which is a carbon copy of carrying a sexual act in exactly the same place, while lone females were walking by. There are strong feelings about this in the local area. He lives just 200 metres from a GAA pitch and a child welfare officer from the club also phoned police as children there had seen him.”

A defence barrister conceded the defendant “had a particularly poor start” having only undertaken eight hours Community Service and at the end of last month was given until June to fully complete the order, yet within days was arrested for the current matter.

Urging bail to be granted he said: “While I appreciate Moy is small, the riverwalk was the area on both occasions, so he could be excluded from there. The defendant has only one previous conviction albeit of a similar nature. He did not intentionally expose himself to anyone. Inferences have been drawn by various ladies who should not have to do so nor be subjected to such behaviour. He knows he has put his liberty very much at stake but nonetheless there are conditions which could be imposed.”

Judge Ranaghan remarked: “The nature of this offending is disturbing and needs to be stopped. This is a difficult exercise, but the court must focus on the fact of just one previous although similar conviction.”

He enquired if any other address was available away from Moy and on being advised there was not, the judge said, “This man would therefore be kept in jail, and we can’t have that. I fully appreciate the police position, but it simply wouldn’t be right.”

Apostolov was ordered to have no contact with any witnesses and sign twice weekly with police.

He is banned from entering the riverwalk area and must not come within 100 metres of the GAA grounds or any facility frequented by children.

The case is due back on April 17.

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