Ex-church minister and adviser to DUP MP denies voyeurism

Charge arose after DUP’s David Simpson found camera in constituency office toilets

 David McConaghie (50), pleaded not guilty to committing voyeurism on dates between August 22nd and September 13th, 2012. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

David McConaghie (50), pleaded not guilty to committing voyeurism on dates between August 22nd and September 13th, 2012. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A former church minister and DUP MP adviser on Wednesday denied a charge of voyeurism.

Appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court, 50-year-old David McConaghie pleaded not guilty to committing voyeurism on dates between August 22nd and September 13th, 2012, in that he allegedly “for the purpose of sexual gratification, recorded another person doing a private act knowing that the other person did not consent to being recorded”.

Last month, a prosecuting lawyer told the court the PPS intended to prosecute Mr McConaghie in the Crown Court but departed from that stance on Wednesday, informing District Judge Mervyn Bates the offence would now be dealt with on a summons basis.

The charge arose after DUP MP David Simpson reported to police that he found a camera in the toilets of his constituency office in Portadown.

Charge amended

When Mr McConaghie, from Cottage Hill in Dollingstown, was initially charged last September, the charge related to installing the camera, but the particulars of the charge have since been amended.

Judge Bates listed the case in two weeks’ time, releasing Mr McConaghie on bail in the meantime.

As part of his bail conditions, Mr McConaghie is barred from contacting any staff member at the DUP advice office in Portadown and from owning or possessing any mobile phone or other device “capable of making video recordings”.

Mr McConaghie is a member of the Free Presbyterian Church and a prominent spokesman for a religious foundation. He had been an election agent for Mr Simpson, the DUP MP for Upper Bann.

He had trained to become a minister within the Free Presbyterian Church, which was started by the recently deceased Reverend Ian Paisley, and had previously been a minister in the Elim Pentecostal Church.

Mr McConaghie has also been a member of the Independent Orange Order.

In a statement released at the time of the camera being uncovered, the police said: “On 25 September, police received a report of an incident at premises in the Thomas Street area of Portadown.”