Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Lawyer guilty over cubicle film

Ritchie MacRitchie
Richie MacRitchie used his mobile phone to record the woman

A Belfast-based solicitor who filmed a woman changing in a leisure centre cubicle has been found guilty of attempted voyeurism.

Richie MacRitchie used his mobile phone to record the woman for the intention of sexual gratification, a judge at Belfast Magistrates Court ruled.

MacRitchie, 33, of Ardmullan, Omeath, County Louth, had originally been cleared of voyeurism.

He will be sentenced next month when reports are prepared for the court.

The lawyer had admitted filming four clips of the woman in the booth next to him at the Falls Leisure Centre, west Belfast in October 2006.

At first a direction of no case to answer was given because his victim was wearing a bikini, because of this it was decided she was not engaged in a private act, according to the Sexual Offences Act.

Later, however, the Court of Appeal ordered the prosecution to proceed on a fresh charge of attempted voyeurism.


The only dispute during the resumed case centred on whether there was a sexual motivation for the footage being taken.

Giving her decision at Belfast Magistrates Court, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: "I'm satisfied that the defendant did have the intention of sexual gratification.

"I therefore find him guilty of the charge as amended."

MacRitchie worked as a non-profit making lawyer based at Conway Mill in Belfast.

His legal team had argued it was not possible for Mrs Bagnall to be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that he was guilty of the offence.

A psychiatrist who examined the solicitor following his arrest claimed he was suffering from chronic stress and wanted to get caught.

He said MacRitchie fitted neither type of sexual offender normally associated with voyeurism - the psychopathic or aggressive, and the immature.

The court was told that although a victim impact assessment has been obtained, pre-sentence reports are still to be completed.

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