Derry man performed sex act on busy Belfast street: court told
A Derry man allegedly performed a sex act on a busy Belfast city centre street as porn was shown on a portable DVD player, the High Court in Belfast has heard.
Martin Coll is accused of masturbating in front of two shocked women in broad daylight close to the five-star Merchant Hotel.
The 54-year-old defendant denies a charge of indecent exposure related to the alleged incident on September 5.
Coll, originally from Derry but with an address at Victoria Street in Belfast, was refused bail.
He was arrested after police were called to the scene at Waring Street in the middle of the afternoon.
Conor Maguire, prosecuting, said two women had been viewing a tourist information sign when their attention was drawn to a man dressed in black.
One of the pair saw movement and believed he was waving at them, the court heard.
But, on closer inspection, she realised he had exposed himself and was masturbating, said Mr Maguire.
The barrister continued: “She described herself as shocked and repulsed by the man’s actions.”
Mrs Justice Keegan was told the incident took place in a popular and busy part of Belfast, close to bars and restaurants.
On being asked by the second woman why he was performing a “disgusting” act, the man allegedly replied: “I didn’t know I couldn’t.”
It was revealed that police also seized a portable DVD player as they detained Coll.
Mr Maguire added: “It was noted to be turned on and playing pornographic images.”
Opposing bail, he claimed there was a risk of further offences and a need to protect the public.
Police were also said to be concerned for Coll’s own safety amid claims others may have taken action against him if he had not been arrested.
Defence counsel Sean Doherty described his client as a homeless man, estranged from his family and with complex mental health needs.
The court also heard Coll suffered a serious head injury when he was younger.
Mr Doherty confirmed: “He indicates to me that he wants to contest the charge.”
Denying bail, however, Mrs Justice Keegan held there was a high risk of re-offending.
She indicated that a further application could be mounted if suitable supervision is obtained.