Northern Ireland

Man accused of 'upskirting' incident at Belfast shopping centre tells jury allegations are 'completely false'

Brian Marshall arriving at Belfast Crown Court
Brian Marshall arriving at Belfast Crown Court

A 25-year old Belfast man accused of an 'upskirting' incident at a city centre shopping mall told a jury on Wednesday the allegations were "completely false."

Brian Marshall is accused of committing an act outraging public decency.

The 25-year old, from Sydenham Gardens in Belfast, has denied that he 'committed an act of a lewd obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency by taking a covert photograph, using a mobile telephone, of underneath the skirt' of a female.

It's the Crown's case that the alleged incident occurred on a corridor leading to the toilets on the ground floor of Victoria Square shopping centre at around 7pm on the evening of May 14, 2021.

Footage of the incident was played to jury, with Crown barrister Robin Steer saying it captured Marshall walking closely behind two women as they walked along the corridor.

Mr Steer said that after the complainant's friend said something to her, the complainant turned round to see Marshall "crouched down and in the act of dropping his phone on the floor."

The prosecutor said that after Marshall was "challenged", he appeared to delete images on his camera roll.

Mr Steer said the complainant then asked Marshall to show them his deleted folder, where she saw around four pictures of her upper thighs "as if they were taken from up her skirt."

The jury was told the women, accompanied by Marshall, then approached a security guard on an upper floor - and following this the complainant then took the phone and threw it over a balcony.

Victoria Square in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Victoria Square in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

Defence barrister Mark Farrell told the jury it was Marshall's case that he didn't take any images and there were "no photographs of legs or thighs on the phone."

Mr Farrell called Marshall to the witness stand and after he swore on the Bible to tell the truth, the chef denied the complainant's allegations and branded the incident as a "misunderstanding."

Marshall confirmed it was him on the CCTV footage, and when asked why he was walking along the corridor, he said he had been going to the bathroom.

He then said: "I was walking behind the ladies in question and I was carrying very expensive whiskey in one hand and my phone in the other.

"I dropped my phone, I tried to catch it and the phone fell and that was it, that's what caused this big mishap."

When asked why he had his phone in his hand, Marshall said he was texting his girlfriend on his iPhone 13.

He was also asked if the camera on his phone was on or primed to be on when he was texting and walking along the corridor.

He replied: "It was off. You can see by the screen that the phone was actually locked and when I put my hand over it to pick it up, it lit up on the locked screen."

Mr Farrell then asked him about the allegations that he had used his phone to take photographs up the complainant's dress.

Marshall said: "Yes they accused me of taking pictures, but I hadn't."

He denied taking any pictures of the complainant and denied deleting any images from either his camera roll or deleted folder.

Marshall was also asked about CCTV footage which captured him and the two women talking to a security guard on the first floor.

When asked about this, Marshall said: "I willingly went with them to security. The security guard said he couldn't do anything.

"I tried to explain to him what the commotion was and show him what had actually happened. From there, I gave my phone to the females and said 'look, if you think there's anything you can check.'

"They had a look and the next thing I knew ... before I could do anything the phone was gone over the balcony."

He confirmed when he retrieved the phone it was broken beyond use, and when he was asked to comment on the allegations against him, Marshall replied: "They are completely false."

At hearing