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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
Solicitor's voyeur case dropped
Ritchie MacRitchie
The case against Richie MacRitchie was dropped
A solicitor who took mobile phone pictures of a young woman in a west Belfast changing room has had the case against him thrown out.

Richie Shaw MacRitchie, 31, was accused of using his phone to film the woman in a unisex changing room.

It took place at the Falls Leisure Centre last October.

Mr MacRitchie, originally from Omeath in County Louth, admitted taking the pictures, but denied the charge of voyeurism.

At an earlier hearing, the defendant said he was sorry and realised he should not have done it.

In her ruling Magistrate Fiona Bagnall said she was satisfied the accused had recorded the images for sexual gratification.

However, Magistrate Bagnall said she was dismissing the charge because the woman had not been filmed carrying out a private act.

She said it was accepted the defendant filmed the lady in her bikini, but under the Sexual Offences Act that could not be considered a "private act".

She said for that to have happened, under the terms of the act, the woman would have had to have been naked or wearing only underwear.

As a result she said she had no alternative but to accede to a defence application to dismiss the voyeurism charge.

Claire Savage reports from Belfast Magistrates Court

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