A Co Antrim guitar maker whose products have been used by music stars has become the first person to appear in court charged with upskirting.
Appearing at Lisburn Magistrates Court via video link from the offices of solicitors for Madden and Finucane, Stephen McIlwrath (62) was charged with outrage of public decency ‘by taping upskirt footage of an unknown woman’ at an unknown date between July 1, 2016, and May 30, 2018.
McIlwrath, of Breton View in Lisburn, is the founder and managing director of Avalon Guitars in Ards.
He was also charged with a dozen offenses relating to indecent images of children, including two counts of possession of 176 indecent images, nine of making indecent images and one of possession of indecent images ‘in view’. to show or distribute them to others.
Although none of the facts were open in court, McIlwrath confirmed he was aware of and understood the charges, while a prosecuting attorney said there was a case to be answered. Defense attorney Damien Halleron confirmed he had no counter arguments and District Judge Alan White said he was satisfied there was a prima facie case.
McIlwrath was told he had the right to comment on the charges and present evidence in court on his own behalf, but he declined that opportunity.
He was released on £500 bail on the condition that he reside at home and have no unsupervised contact with children. The case was returned to Craigavon Crown Court for trial, with the arraignment to be heard on September 16.