A Christian charity has welcomed the first conviction of a person attempting to pay for sex since the law changed in Northern Ireland.
An Armagh man was sentenced to serve a three-month custodial sentence and ordered to pay £500 compensation directly to the victim today (July 6).
According to CARE in Northern Ireland (Christian Action Research and Education) the judge believed the custodial sentence was required. He described James Moloney’s (23) behaviour as “predatory” in order to fulfil his “egotism”.
Moloney will appeal, but the Judge warned him that the sentence can go up as well as down.
“CARE is pleased to see the PSNI and PPS utilising the offence contained in the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act 2015 to bring about justice,” said a CARE spokesperson.
“We hope this provision will continue to be used to protect the most vulnerable from sexual exploitation across Northern Ireland.”
The Christian charity said the conviction sends out a “strong message” that “sexual exploitation is not tolerated in Northern Ireland”.
“On Wednesday MPs across the House told the Government that paying for sex should be made illegal, and Britain should follow Northern Ireland’s example to do so.
“This conviction reinforces the effectiveness of this legislation and the need for it,” the spokesperson added.
Maloney was accused of pulling up in his car beside a cleaner at a petrol station, showing her a roll of money and making a sexualised gesture early one morning in August 2016.
Police were subsequently called and Maloney arrested. He had denied the charges but was convicted last month.
The law, which was championed by Democratic Unionist peer and Stormont assembly member Lord Morrow, came into effect on June 1, 2015.
Maloney, who has a previous record but not for sexual offences, appeared before Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on Friday for sentencing.