Friday, June 07, 2024

Man accused of having sex in Belfast church is barred from area

A man accused of having sex inside a Belfast church in front of shocked parishioners is to be barred from returning to the area, a High Court judge ordered on Wednesday.

Sean Paul Russell (36), was prohibited from entering Chapel Lane in the city centre as part of terms under which he was granted bail.

Mr Russell, of Saul Street in Downpatrick, and co-accused Kirsty McMaster (31), of no fixed abode, were arrested at St Mary’s Church on May 18th.

The pair are jointly charged with committing an act outraging public decency and disorderly behaviour.

Police were called to the scene by others attending the church that afternoon.

A previous court heard that a man and woman had been engaging in sexual intercourse in a room in full view of people outside.

When challenged about their actions both defendants allegedly directed a foul-mouthed tirade at officers.

Ms McMaster was said to have shouted “It’s just sex” and told police to “f*** off”.

She later stated in interviews that she had been extremely drunk and thought any sexual activity took place on the street outside the church.

Mr Russell also allegedly shouted obscenities during his arrest, declaring that he “didn’t give a f***”.

With bail previously granted to his co-accused, he mounted an application at the High Court for release from custody.

Bail was not opposed on condition that Russell abides by strict conditions.

A defence barrister described it as “a very unsavoury incident” and acknowledged the prosecution’s “pragmatic” stance on bail.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Kinney imposed a ban on Russell entering the area of Chapel Lane.

The accused was also prohibited from consuming alcohol in public or consuming any legal highs.