‘Predatory paedophile’ jailed

Gerald Judge.
Gerald Judge.

A ‘predatory paedophile’ who abused and tried to sexually assault a teenage school boy more than 30 years ago was jailed for seven years today (Thursday, March 22).

It’s the second time that former Portadown businessman Gerard Judge (63) has been convicted and jailed for the offences he committed against the then 14-year-old boy and today at Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Patrick Lynch QC said that despite his actions having a “profound effect” on the life of his victim, Judge still denies any wrongdoing.

“There’s been no acknowledgement of guilt, no acceptance by you that you are a sexual predator of young children and no remorse has been shown,” said Judge Lynch.

At the end of his trial last month, the fifth trial in the case Judge, from Millbrook Court in Lurgan, was convicted of six counts of indecent assault and one of attempted buggery against his victim, all committed on dates between 2 April 1980 and 1 April 1983.

Judge had been convicted and jailed for five years in an earlier hearing in 2015 but those convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2017 and following that, other trials had to be aborted for legal reasons and a jury failed to reach a verdict in one hearing.

Last month however, a jury unanimously convicted Judge having heard how the businessman began the abuse by “rubbing himself” on the victim from behind but that the abuse soon escalated to mutual inappropriate touching with the boy who was around 13 or 14-years-old at the time.

Setting the facts out briefly today (Thursday), prosecuting QC Peter Irvine reminded the court the “sexual rubbing occurred on a number of occasions” in a pub that Judge part owned.

He outlined how on other occasions, there was inappropriate touching, masturbation and performing sex acts with the schoolboy when Judge “played pornographic movies” in the upstairs bar.

The most serious incident, said the lawyer, happened on one such occasion when the victim’s trousers were “down at his knees” and Judge tried to bugger the boy.

“The victim felt the defendants penis at his backside, he was crying and struggling and eventually the defendant gave up,” Mr Irvine told the court.

He submitted that the last incident, when Judge drove his victim “four or five miles away” to a car park and forced him to touch his private parts and perform a sex act on him, involved a “clear element of planning and preparation in the offending” in order to “isolate the victim” which was an aggravating factor.

In addition, he further submitted there were other aggravating features including the age and vulnerability of the victim, the offences were committed “over a protracted period,” the offences represented a “breach of trust” and the “profound effects” the behaviour had on the victim who was now an alcoholic suffering from PTSD.

Defence QC Richard Greene submitted that in the intervening period, Judge had gotten married, had children, had a successful business life and there was “no hint or suggestion” of any repetition of the offending.

“The point I wish to make is that here we have a defendant who many, many years later, seems to have put this type of behaviour well behind him and his moved on with his life and that’s something the court can reflect on,” said the lawyer.

Highlighting that the previous sentencing judge had imposed a probation order in addition to custody, Mr Greene submitted that a similar course could be imposed again notwithstanding Judge’s continued denials as in the probation report, the officer documented the PBNI could work with the defendant to address his offending.

Sentencing the paedophile Judge Lynch said he “takes a different view” and could see no role for probation intervention “given your attitude at trial and the attitude you evinced in the witness box and to probation.”

As well as the seven year jail term, Judge was ordered to sign the police sex offenders register “indefinitely” and banned from working with children.