Man (57) ‘forcibly kissed’ teenage shop worker
A 57-year-old County Antrim man who “forcibly kissed” a 16-year-old shop worker has been given a five months prison sentence, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay the teenage girl £300 compensation.
James Storey Logan, of Clooney Road near Ahoghill, admitted a charge of ‘common assault’ in relation to an incident on the evening of February 5 this year.
A prosecutor told Thursday’s Ballymena Magistrates Court, Logan “forcibly kissed the juvenile member of staff while she was cleaning the shop”.
The girl who was “incredibly upset” didn’t know him but recognised him as a customer, the court heard. Logan was identified from CCTV and admitted the offence. A prosecutor said the charge had been “amended to a common assault”.
The defendant appeared via a video link from his solicitor’s office and the lawyer said he had made a representation to prosecutors and Logan had admitted the charge after it was reduced to common assault. The defence solicitor said Logan had kissed the girl “on the forehead” and added: “He and I would be at pains to point out there certainly was no sexual connotations to this and no other form of inappropriate action”. The lawyer said a Probation report showed the defendant, who he said had only previous convictions for motoring matters, was unlikely to re-offend and does not pose “any significant risk”. The defence lawyer said Logan’s marriage previously broke down which led him to drink. The solicitor said the defendant was from a “very respectable” family who were “totally abhorred” at what he had done in the shop. The lawyer said Logan was on medication for depression and had drink taken at the time of the offence which “blurred” his thinking. The solicitor added: “This young shop assistant was brushing up. There were other members of staff present. He indicates he felt some sympathy for this young lady and instinctively kissed her on the forehead. It was totally unwarranted, he shouldn’t have done it”. The lawyer said Logan apologised for his “inappropriate behaviour and the distress that has been caused” to the victim. The court was told the defendant is now on an alcohol detox programme and was “very embarrassed” by being in court. District Judge Nigel Broderick said: “What gives him the right to go into a shop and accost a young female and kiss her on the forehead? it was totally uncalled for, not appreciated or invited by the victim.” He said it was “totally reprehensible behaviour” aggravated by the disparity in age and the fact it happened in a shop where the victim was working. The judge added: “You are very fortunate the prosecution, for whatever reason, chose to amend this charge from a sexual assault to a common assault. It has all the hallmarks of a sexual assault and is a very serious offence”. Judge Broderick said “not without some hesitation” he was not immediately jailing the defendant as the he handed down a suspended prison term.