A radiologist at a Hillsborough private practice stashed his mobile phone in an air vent to record patients using the unisex toilet, a court has heard.
Despite his crime, Dr Mark McClure, 48, may still be able to salvage his career as District Judge Amanda Brady opted to impose a nine-month probation order which means he will not appear on the police sex offenders register.
McClure, with an address now at Hazelwood Lane in Lisburn but whose previous home, a sprawling five-bedroom house with grounds and stables on the Edentrillick Road in Hillsborough is currently on the market for £695,000, had pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism on February 18 and 23 last year.
Two other charges of voyeurism were not proceeded with.
At Lisburn Magistrates’ Court a prosecuting lawyer described how a staff member at the private clinic was alerted by the defendant that he needed access to inside an air vent that looked into the unisex toilet claiming his mobile phone had fallen into the vent when he was attempting to fix it.
The staff member was suspicious, however, as what McClure was claiming was impossible because the vent was fixed to the wall.
They expressed their concerns to the practice manager and on February 23 staff followed McClure and saw him going into an adjacent toilet but there was no sound of flushing.
When the staff went to investigate the unisex toilet, they uncovered the mobile phone still recording behind the vent but the court heard that thankfully, no actual people had been recorded.
During interview McClure admitted the phone was his and he went back to get it as he realised he had made a “big mistake”.
He denied committing any crime, claiming he had been under financial pressure and life stresses at the time.
Defence barrister Steven Molloy said the incident has had a “catastrophic effect” on McClure’s life.
“One is particularly concerned about potential victims,” said the lawyer, but not only was there nothing in the phone, he revealed McClure’s computer was also checked and it was completely clear.
“He is fortunate that nothing is on the phone and there is no actual victims in this case,” conceded Mr Molloy, who said McClure was in a “very dangerous situation” as his “exemplary career” was on the brink of extinction if he went to jail or was placed on the sex offenders register.
The lawyer declared: “This has been a complete and utter catastrophe. He lost his marriage, lost his job, subject to appeal and he has supervised contact with his three children.”