The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.
A Judge has expressed her anger at the actions of a defendant who posted a social media video of a child performing a sex act in a nightclub.
The case of Crystal Bradley, (37), of Churchill Park, Portadown, was heard at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Friday, June 17.
The defendant came before the court after previously pleading guilty to the offence of improper use of public electronic communications network.
The court heard that on New Year’s Eve, 2019, the injured party reported to police she had been shown mobile phone footage which was her involvement in sexual acts in a nightclub in Portadown.
It transpired that the origin of those videos was the defendant’s Facebook page and it appeared that she posted them onto the social media site.
Police spoke with Bradley under caution and during interview, the defendant was frank and admitted the video had been shared by her on Facebook and she stated she shared it with parents to warn them about the dangers of under-age drinking in a nightclub. However, she told officers that it was never her intention to cause any distress.
District Judge Bernie Kelly told Bradley’s solicitor: “I have her entire correspondence here and when she was asked to take it (the Facebook post) down, what was her response when she asked to take it down?
“It wasn’t bad manners, it was beyond that, this girl’s mother pleaded with her to take it down and she refused, in fact, she issued an expletive filled construction to the child’s mother.
“Other people asked her to take it down, strangers according to this asked her to take this down.
“In fact, someone had written to her and said ‘what if she does something exceptionally serious as a result of you posting this?’ and her response was ‘not my fault she was caught on camera three wetting herself laughing emojis’.
“Do you know what makes this worse? She has teenage daughters of her own.
“If she was genuinely contrite that series of correspondence wouldn’t have occurred.
“If, as she tells probation, this was only done because she was seriously under the influence of alcohol at the time or it was being done for some ill-thought out help towards parents generally, the minute the very first person messaged her to take that down, she would have complied without reservation and without adding to this young girl’s problems and she didn’t.
“Do you know the first time she has expressed any sort of contriteness was when she realised she was facing court proceedings and a possible prison sentence.
“In other words, she wasn’t remotely interested in the plight of this girl or her mother, it was only when it was affecting her.”
Defence barrister, Gavyn Cairns, outlined that Bradley had no previous convictions and that she repents about the messages that were sent after the post was uploaded which was due to her alcohol intake that weekend.
It was added that if she could turn back time she would as the messages sent after is the element of the case she is the most remorseful about.
The barrister explained that the defendant has worked for an agency for a substantial period of time and the offence has been “a salutary lesson” for her to learn as she should have been alive to the “emotional trauma” that might have been inflicted on the injured party.
Furthermore, it was pointed out that Bradley was one of a large number of people who put the video on Facebook and she wasn’t the originator of the video, but she had a misconceived notion of uploading it to warn off other parents about a particular public house establishment.
Despite how misconceived it was, Mr Cairns stressed that his client shouldn’t have been a participant in it and she should have responded to the individual involved that she would take the video down.
District Judge Kelly intervened and said: “A really interesting line and this is obviously something someone else sent to her which I think is coming to pass.
“Karma will be a...and I’m not repeating the last word but I think karma has arrived.”
Addressing a possible penalty, Mr Cairns said that a message of deterrence would go out if the Judge imposed a suspended custodial sentence over her head which would allow his client to return to the family unit.
The barrister further told the court that his client pleaded guilty which spared any witnesses coming before the court, co-operated with probation and had remorse for her own plight.
DJ Kelly asked Mr Cairns: “If you were convicted or pleaded guilty to murder as a first time offence, would you get a prison sentence?
“Yes, you would as its mandatory.
“The same would apply to certain other offences, just because it’s your first offence and it’s serious enough, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first.
“There was no remorse for the child, for she was a child in that video, or remorse for that child’s mother, or remorse for that child’s plight, it wasn’t remorse for any of that, it was remorse for her own selfish ends.
“That is not remorse in my book.”
Mr Cairns pointed out that his client did have remorse for the damage she had done and that had affected everyone involved.
The barrister insisted that after she pleaded guilty six weeks ago, she has spent the time in the interim in an “angst-ridden anxiety”.
DJ Kelly hit back: “How do you think the child subject of her ire has spent every second of her life after that night?
“It was well beyond anything your client has spent in the last six weeks.
“If she was genuinely remorseful for what she done, she would have taken herself off social media the very next day.
“But I bet you she was posting last night and this morning about the most important aspects of her life for the entire world to read and hear about.
“I wish I could put her on a Sex Offender’s Register for posting that sort of image of a child online. That’s exactly where I think she should be but I can’t as this offence doesn’t attract it.”
Mr Cairns pointed out that his client would delete social media if it meant she would avoid a custodial sentence.
However, DJ Kelly said she doesn’t have the power to do this and it wasn’t part of her sentencing exercise.
She told the defendant: “The offence that you committed was the posting of indecent images of a child online – but you weren’t content with that.
“You have teenage daughters yourself, can you imagine the angst they would have gone through if an image like that of them were to be posted on the internet?
“Can you imagine then you going on the internet to the person who posted it and begging them to take it down, how you would feel when they would tell you, well it’s two words the first begins with ‘f’ and the second begins with ‘o’.”
Speaking through a video-link, a visibly upset Bradley said: “I’m so terribly sorry.
“If I could speak to the family, I would.”
However, DJ Kelly said it was not sorrow when she responded to messages asking for the post to be taken down and joked that her typing skills were to be commended when under the influence of alcohol.
She added: “There have been children who have committed suicide over this type of thing being posted on the internet.
“I know a couple of examples.
“You are not oblivious to the fact that the same thing could have happened this girl but you didn’t care.
“You, in clear breach, posted these images online and then you compounded that fact by taking personal delight in the suffering of this child and her mother which I find abhorrent.
“I can just imagine listening to you if that had of been your daughter...I’d say we would have heard from you all over the country, wouldn’t we?”
The Judge imposed a four month custodial sentence, suspended for three years.