'no consent' | 

Tattoo artist avoids jail after sexually assaulting model

The judge said Shane Sunday’s early guilty plea saved him from being jailed

Shane Sunday

Staff reporterSunday World

An award winning tattoo artist who sexually assaulted a model has narrowly escaped going to jail.

Although Shane Sunday was handed a three-month prison sentence at Newtownards Magistrate’s Court last Tuesday, District Judge Mark Hamill suspended it for three years.

Ordering the 48-year-old to sign the police sex offenders register for seven years, the judge warned Sunday it was his “clear record and that you pleaded guilty early that is saving you from prison”.

Last May, Sunday, from Croft Street in Bangor, and who founded the Alternative Ink tattoo studio, entered a guilty plea to a single count of sexual assault on on 6 April this year in that he touched the complainant in a sexual way when “she did not consent to the touching and you did not reasonably believe that she so consented”.

On Tuesday, a prosecuting lawyer told the court the victim was modelling for Sunday, wearing just her underwear and was in a massage type table when he “touched her private parts without her consent”.

Arrested and interviewed, Sunday “confirmed that he did exactly as alleged”.

Defence counsel Johnathon Browne said the offence was “an extremely unfortunate situation” in that the victim had modelled for Sunday before and he “completely misread the situation”.

“He has a completely clear record and it’s an extremely regrettable situation for which he offers an unreserved apology to this lady,” said the lawyer adding that over and above the offence itself, “there are no aggravating features but significant mitigation”.

Mr Browne said despite the conviction, Sunday intended to carry on his work as a tattoo artist.

“Not withstanding the serious nature of the case and he will have to live with the consequences of the sex offenders register and also perhaps, most importantly, he will have to deal with the ongoing shame of this particular case,” said the defence counsellor.

In addition to the suspended jail sentence, DJ Hamill also ordered Sunday to pay £400 to the victim by way of compensation “even though that doesn’t come anywhere remotely near the compensation but it’s a gesture”.

He warned Sunday that if he reoffended or didn’t pay the cash, “I will send you to prison”.

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