A SALTCOATS man who held his phone over a toilet cubicle as a boy was urinating at Hallowe’en was found guilty this week.

Kevin Nugent, 42, avoided the sex offenders register after allegedly attempting to capture images of the then 16-year-old in the incident at the Rivergate Shopping Centre on October 31, 2020.

Nugent denied the voyeurism sexual offence during a trial at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court – but was found guilty of a reduced charge of breaching the peace in holding his phone over the toilet cubicle.

Sheriff Murdoch MacTaggart heard how three youngsters were in the toilets next to the multi-storey car park – with no one else present other than the accused.

After one of the boys alerted security, the trial heard the youngsters made comments like ‘beast’ and ‘paedo’ while following him to Asda and then his car.

Nugent’s defence solicitor Simon Brown put it to the witnesses they made this up to cover their own “bad behaviour” – alleging they had been abusive to the accused in the toilets as they entered.

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When the trial resumed on December 12 a third witness and Nugent himself took the stand.

The victim’s friend, now aged 18, said: “We all went to the toilet together, [the complainer] went in the cubicle. At the urinal I seen a phone going over into the cubicle”, adding it was ‘pointing down, definitely’.

He added: “You see a phone, you think surely they are taking a pic, you can’t guarantee it, but it was pretty weird.”

When the defence put it to the witness they had been abusive before he was in the cubicle, he replied ‘No that’s not true’, adding they did say things like ‘beast’ or ‘paedo’ when pursuing him.

Asked whether the complainer’s cubicle door was open or shut, the witness recalled it was closed but unlocked – after the victim described it as open while the other youngster recalled it was closed, when the trial first called.

Taking the stand in his defence, Nugent claimed he was on his phone standing by the sink when the boys came in.

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He said: “They made comments on how I looked. That I look like a beast. I didn’t make any comments and went into the cubicle.

“I didn’t hear specifically but it was words like ‘beast’”, adding they stated “I know you took a pic".

Under questioning from Procurator Fiscal depute Jade Podlesny, he added: “They were quite cheeky, I thought I better get away in the toilet then leave."

After describing the boys as ‘looking quite agitated’ as he left the toilets – and asked why – he added ‘because that [having taken pictures] was the assumption, the accusation’.

When prosecutor Ms Podlesny put it to Nugent that he did hold his phone over the cubicle, he replied: “No, not at all.”

When asked back in August why they followed him after the ‘weird’ incident, the complainer replied: “We wanted to see where he went”, adding, “You’re not going to be happy, are you?”

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He said: “If we didn’t see where he went, he could have just got away with it.

“You don’t just walk into a cubicle and call someone that. Nobody does that. Why would you?”

A Rivergate security guard told the court: “When the boys came round I shouted for the supervisor at the time. I asked him [the accused] what was going on and he said he was getting accused of taking pictures.

“They [the complainers] were quite calm – though some were shouting.”

Sheriff MacTaggart told the court he accepted the boys’ evidence and ‘that this was observed’, but that prosecutors could not prove the voyeurism allegation of ‘obtaining sexual gratification, or causing distress to the individual’.

However, he found Nugent guilty of behaving in a disorderly manner by holding the mobile phone over the cubicle while the boy was urinating, causing a breach of the peace.

He told Nugent: “I’m going to defer sentence for a period of good behaviour for six months – if you do not come to the attention of police or the courts between now and then, that will maybe draw a line under it.”