Earlier this year McCleave, a father-of-two from Colinward Gardens in Newtownabbbey, stood trial at Belfast Crown Court on eight separate counts.
Despite his denials, he was found guilty of misconduct in a public office, one charge of voyeurism and six counts of attempted voyeurism. The offences were committed between October 29, 2012 and November 14, 2012.
Passing sentence, Judge Ramsey QC said McCleave’s conduct was a “flagrant and wilful abuse of the trust placed in you by the public as a CCTV operator”.
The judge added that the defendant had deliberately “trained the camera on her apartment to catch her in a state of undress’’.
“This was, in any view, a gross intrusion into the privacy of this woman in her apartment for your
personal sexual gratification.’’
Judge Ramsey QC said that as a result of his misconduct in public office he had “lost his job, his reputation and his good name”.
The judge said the only mitigating factor in McCleave’s favour was that he was a “man of previous good character with no criminal convictions’’.
McCleave received sentences of eight months each for misconduct in public office and voyeurism and six months on six counts of attempted voyeurism. The judge ordered that all the sentences should run concurrently.
During the trial, the jury heard how the alarm was raised by a colleague of McCleave’s who noticed that a
security camera being operated by McCleave was trained into the first floor window of an apartment in north Belfast.
The camera’s default position was to monitor an interface, however.
McCleave was convicted of using the camera to zoom into the apartment when he watched the woman walking about her flat firstly wrapped in a towel, then wearing nothing but a black thong.
As well as being found guilty of using the camera for an act of voyeurism for his own sexual gratification, McCleave was also convicted of six counts of attempted voyeurism.
In all six occasions, McCleave had zoomed the same camera into the same woman’s apartment.
The jury was also shown footage of cameras being used by McCleave zooming in on women going about their business in Belfast.
Crown prosecutor Tessa Kitson told the court that the victim “suffered a degree of serious harm as a result of the offences’’ and that a doctor indicated “she has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder’’.
She also added that McCleave’s voyeurism was “carried out in the victim’s own home’’.
Telling Judge Paul Ramsey QC that McCleave’s actions using the police CCTV were a “severe breach of trust’’, Ms Kitson also spoke of the integrity of the
CCTV system being “undermined’’.
Defence counsel Des Fahy spoke of his client’s “excellent work ethic’’, his “strong and supportive family background”, and said he came before the court with no previous convictions.
Telling the court that McCleave continues to maintain his innocence, Mr Fahy said that despite this stance his client has “shown victim awareness and empathy”.
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