A man who was the first person in the UK to be jailed for attempting to pay for sex has had his conviction and sentence upheld.
James Maloney, 24, was given three months in prison after being found guilty of attempting to pay for sex in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, in 2016.
During his trial, the court heard how he had offered a cleaner at a petrol station a wad of money and made a sexualised gesture before driving off, returning and making the same gesture again.
Nothern Ireland is the only part of the UK where paying for sex is illegal, after the Northern Ireland Assembly passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill in 2015.
In his trial, the judge said that because of Maloney’s predatory and sexualised stalking of the woman, lack of remorse and innocent plea, an immediate sentence of three months behind bars was justified.
But Maloney, from Drumarg Villas in Armagh city, appealed the decision and the victim was compelled to give evidence for a second time at Omagh County Court in October 2018.
She told the court that she had felt scared and ashamed after the incident, adding: ‘I was quite surprised as well. He is quite a handsome man.’
Maloney’s defence team had stated that the gesture had been a misunderstanding but sentencing today, the judge said it was ‘a blatant attempt to sexually proposition a vulnerable victim’.
The BBC reported that he told the court she was ‘simply carrying out an honest day’s work and should never have been subjected to this humiliation and degradation’.
He continued: ‘In terms of harm to the victim, this was indeed a distressing and disturbing event, which made her considerably apprehensive about going to work in the early hours of the morning.’
Maloney’s original sentence of three months was deemed ‘entirely appropriate’ and he was taken from the dock in handcuffs.
He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to his victim.